McNealy: Sun working toward always-on Net

Sun is working on what McNealy referred to -- repeatedly -- as the "BFWTS," the "big freaking Web tone switch." The BFWTS apparently means an "integrated, scalable architecture that is always up" and that operates on open standards. As always, McNealy was flippant in some of his responses, picking at competitors including, of course, arch-nemesis Microsoft, but also reserving jabs for Intel and its IA-64 chip, as well as what McNealy views as that company's lack of focus.

Noting that Intel has a camera on the market, McNealy said that Sun is sticking to its focus and its mission: "We're delivering that Internet infrastructure everyone wants." As such, Sun will spend $US2 billion to $US2.5 billion on research and development over the next 12 months, McNealy said.

McNealy bristled at the suggestion from analysts who questioned him during his keynote interview that the UltraSparc line from Sun has grown "a little long in the tooth." Calling that assessment "a little unfair," McNealy said, "The only thing long about UltraSparc now is the lead times because our back order is so long."

The company will move that line over to the recently announced UltraSparc 3 in the next nine months, McNealy said, adding that another of Sun's goals is to avoid making obsolete the base of customer's computer systems with each new upgrade.

"You don't worry about upgrades to the telephone switch," he said, calling on an analogy he used throughout his keynote interview, likening the Internet of the future to telephone service in that when we pick up our telephone handsets the dial tone is ever present. It should be that simple with the Internet, he said.

As part of that movement, users of technology should be less focused on specific pieces of software, McNealy said, pointing to software used to operate automobiles, which he referred to as "iron wrapped" rather than shrink wrapped. That software is a key component of the automobile and isn't something users think about separately.

"When was the last time you bought left-blinker software," McNealy said, adding that he has been advocating for some time now that "software is a feature, not an industry."

Reaching that state overall, though, where software functions as a set of features in the hardware "is a nontrivial engineering task," he said, using Sun's architecture server and the effort to get it to work well around the Solaris operating system as an example.

"That's our goal," McNealy said, "to get it dial-tone ready."

To accomplish that, Sun has embarked on a broad quality initiative to get products to market faster and to be more responsive to the needs of customers who can't afford downtime.

Another issue, though, is that the company has grown so much that by June of 2001, half of the employees will have been with Sun for less than two years, further making the launch of the 14 points in the quality initiative all the more important, he said.

McNealy said that he is turning down most requests to give speeches and interviews. "I'm spending all my time with employees," he said, adding that "I think this company will be a very different company two years from now."

The message he's giving employees and spreading throughout the company is simple: "The only thing that really matters is up time, up time, up time, up time and up time."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Weil

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?