Change is a constant at Sun. So long as the market’s changing – or so long as we can change the market – we’re going to evolve. As Darwin said, it’s not the strongest organisms that win, it’s the most adaptable.
To that end, today we announced a series of changes designed to prepare us for the next wave of system challenges and market opportunities. I want to thank Mark Canepa for years of extraordinary commitment and devotion to Sun, and welcome John Fowler (who will lead Sun’s Systems businesses) and David Yen (who will lead Sun’s Storage businesses) to their new roles.
Speaking of changes, tomorrow morning, I get to deliver my favorite speech of the year, my keynote at Java One. I get to do so wearing my fancy new title, “Chief Java Evangelist,” a title I now share with our Chairman.
I’m still amazed when I hear folks wondering how Sun monetizes Java. So at the risk of repetition, I’d like to share a few thoughts.
When Thomas Edison first introduced the lightbulb, he held patents he tried to wield against potential competitors – he wanted to own the client (the bulb) and the server (the dynamo). He failed. Standards emerged around voltage and plugs, and GE Energy (formerly, Edison General Electric), to this day, remains one of the most profitable and interesting businesses around. How big would the power business be today if you could only buy bulbs and appliances from one company? A far sight smaller, I’d imagine. Standards grew markets and value.
Then there was the civil war era in the US, when locomotive companies all had their own railroad widths and shapes – designed only to work with their rail cars and steam engines. How’d they fare? They failed, standards emerged that unified railways and rail lines, and that era created massive wealth, connecting economies within economies. Standards grew markets and value.
To get to the impact on a global scale, you should really read Mark Levinson’s The Box. Which talks to the extraordinary impact the standard shipping container had on global commerce. No, I’m not joking. It democratized global commerce. And it ain’t even done.
So if you want to know how I feel about Java, my view is it’s changing the world – standardizing the plugs and rail gauges and containers used by global internet players. Its momentum, in my view, is unstoppable. What’s that worth to Sun? Give it your best shot. When I do, I say most of our revenue is derived from Java. Just like most of Verizon’s revenue comes from handsets. Even though the economics of the handset look baffling (but I dare you to recommend to Verizon that they stop selling them). Those that believe free software or service yields lower revenue don’t understand the economics or dynamics of the software industry. Think Google or Yahoo!, not Maytag.
So for those in attendance tomorrow, thank you for joining us – at what’s become the world’s largest free and open source software developer conference. Believe me, there’s a huge tent waiting for you – I just walked the main hall, and you could fit a few Space Shuttles in the place.
And somewhat off topic, a family member of mine once asked if I ever got nervous before keynotes – when I mentioned having nearly 20,000 folks in the audience this year, they nearly passed out. My response was simple – what’s it like talking to your family about their accomplishments, no matter how big a family gathering? It’s easy, it’s what comes naturally, it’s called being a member of a community, and feeling pride. Talking about what you know and love is like falling off a log (vs. rehearsing a keynote you don’t care about, my worst nightmare – second only to extreme turbulence).
So I’ll see you tomorrow morning, on-line, or in person. Like I said, it’s my favorite part of the year, like spending time with family (and just wait until you see who joins the family tomorrow…).