Sun Microsystems president and COO Jonathan Schwartz and Linux Journal senior editor Doc Searls chatted at a morning Syndicate Conference session; it was a watershed moment in the ongoing discussion of blogging and business.
Intranets are going to die, Schwartz said as he and Searls turned their chairs to face each other and chat during his morning keynote address to Syndicate Conference attendees. And blogs are going to replace intranets.
Schwartz knows blogging. He’s arguably the highest-placed corporate executive who blogs on a routine basis. Beginning to blog was a natural extension for a technology company like Sun, too.
“Imagine a company that had email the day it started 24 years ago. There has always been connectivity at Sun. So, when blogs took off there was never a discussion of whether we should do this ... just how,” Schwartz said.
He cited blogging as playing an enormous part in rebuilding Sun’s reputation. The company, like many others, suffered greatly during the dot-com crash. Only recently has Sun begun to ascend again.
(As to why Schwartz has comments disabled on his blog, he responded to that question from ZDNet’s David Berlind by stressing the multiple responsibilities he has already.)
Blogging, like Sun’s newest products, is made for the web. And demand for Sun’s products has greatly increased. To make the rise in blogging work well for Sun, Schwartz said transparency has been a factor, but authenticity is the key.
Without a clear look into a company and how it functions, there is no trust. To Sun, Schwartz noted, authenticity is vital to that trust. People have accepted that trust; the open source version of the Solaris operating system has had its license downloaded 3.6 million times in the six months it’s been available under Sun’s, CDDL terms.
In discussing Sun, the temptation to discuss one particular collaboration partner, Google, was too much to resist. Schwartz simply answered a question about an example of the Sun/Google relationship by saying both companies want to serve their markets.
Despite the collaboration, Schwartz has some uncertainty when it comes to online advertising, which has richened Google by billions of dollars. Schwartz said he didn’t think advertising has been the revenue model for the Internet. Sun doesn’t sell ads yet is still a multi-billion dollar business.
“There won’t be one panacea business model,” Schwartz said.