It’s a sad day for tech journalists who could always count on Scott McNealy for zingy quotes, but Sun Microsystems investors seem ready for a change after watching the stock idle under $6 for four years. McNealy is giving up the chief executive position to Jonathan Schwartz, the company president.
McNealy was Microsoft’s most vocal antagonist in the late 1990s, notably referring to Windows as a “giant hairball,” but the rhetoric cooled off after Sun settled its Microsoft antitrust claims for $2 billion in 2004. He’s also part of an amazing generation of tech entrepreneurs (others include Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates) now entering their 50s.
Just last week McNealy brushed off rumors that he’d step down, but he apparently changed his mind. He told me in 2002 that he’d never work with Microsoft, but a few years later he was on stage with Steve Ballmer announcing the settlement and plans for their two companies to cooperate, so you never know.