In February of 1982, I, along with Vinod Khosla, Andy Bechtolsheim
and Bill Joy, started a little venture called Sun Microsystems. There
was no Solaris. TCP/IP was virtually unknown. Java, NFS, Sparc,
open interfaces were all yet to be born. Today, 24 years later, that
little venture employs 37,900 people in more than 100 countries, has
racked up almost $150 billion in revenue so far, and is responsible
for bringing the power of network computing to the planet.
Back then, I was a 27-year-old kid, single, totally focused on what
the network could do for the world. Today, 24 years later — well,
do the math, gang — I’m 51 years old, a husband and the proud dad
of four sons, and I’m still totally focused on what the network can
do for the world.
This continues to be an incredible ride. The opportunities and
challenges are beyond huge and exciting. Eliminating the Digital
Divide. Powering the Participation Age. Making money and
growing. Kicking total butt and having fun. There’s much more
work to be done.
So, with the full support of our world-class board, I am doubling down
on the leadership of this critically vital mission we are all on. Please
join me in congratulating our president, Jonathan Schwartz, on his
added responsibilities of CEO.
As for me, I will be working here as hard as ever. I’m keeping my
role as Chairman of the Board, where I will be focusing my energy
on growing our business, keeping us in front of the right people
and providing support as a coach and mentor to our leaders. I’m
also taking on a new role as chairman of SunFed, where I will focus
on the increasingly important issues of security, privacy, defense
Why now? Well, as a company founder, the timing had to be right,
both for the company and for me. I would never hand over the CEO
reins at a time when Sun’s position is deteriorating or not in
rock-solid shape. I just wouldn’t do that.
After the bubble burst, some major investments and strategic
rewiring were required. Since then, the team has fixed quality,
and we now have the best product line in our history. We are
generating cash and are financially set for the long run. And we
are growing again. While we have some important choices ahead
of us to ensure we return to profitability, we are now at a point
where the team can make them from a position of competitive
strength. And when we do achieve sustained profitability, we will
be on our way to another couple dozen years of industry leadership.
All the ingredients are there for us to rock and roll. An important
aside: Folks often come to me saying it must be tough at Sun these
days. I surprise them with a sincere response that the last four
years have been more satisfying than any in my career. The
strange part of this decision is that I am finally figuring out this
job and really enjoying it.
So while it would be fun to run Sun forever as CEO, this is not
about me. It is about building the best leadership team possible.
And being fair to the next boss. That means not riding up the next
cycle and handing over the reins just before the next (inevitable)
downturn. This is a perfect time in the natural cycle of business.
Another huge reason is that I believe in our team, starting with
Jonathan. He has earned the chance to lead this mission. He and
his team are directly responsible for the many good things that
are happening to our business and prospects.
I am thrilled that we have endowed the industry with CEOs from
Sun’s ranks. Now is the time to harvest from our own training
ground, for our own company. He, like me, has a consistent and
deep commitment to Sun and our mission. And with a committed
and aligned team, he has been delivering durable, long-term value
at every turn. Witness our renewed commitment to openness, our
edgy marketing, our strengthened role in eco-responsibility, our
revamped field structure, our game-changing acquisitions including
StorageTek and SeeBeyond, our blockbuster Solaris 10, the
UltraSPARC T1 … The list goes on. Jonathan and his team have
their fingerprints all over the reemergence of this great company.
They have the vision, the discipline, and the courage to lead Sun
to its next stage of success. With your help.
And having been there myself, I will be there full-time for him and
the rest of the team. I am looking forward to my new role as coach,
industry-agenda setter and chief Sun evangelist. I am committed
to opening every door out there that our folks need opening.
Heads of state, the biggest service providers, the hottest new
startup, a key ISV, a critical recruit, a big town hall? You name it,
and I am there to help. And a little change of responsibilities will
be good for me, for the leadership team, and for our shareholders,
freeing me up to do what I enjoy the most. This is going to be fun.
I know you have questions. I know you have thoughts. So please
join Jonathan and me tomorrow in a special live Global Town Hall
at 8:00 a.m. California/Pacific Time (15:00 Greenwich Mean Time).
In the meantime, Jonathan and I will hold a media conference call
this afternoon and will make it available to you, both live and in
playback mode, through a special “Announcement in a Browser .”
You can use this browser to listen to the media call, attend
tomorrow’s town hall, submit questions for the town hall, and
learn more about this announcement. It’s all at:
I look forward to talking with all of you then.