The more we share our success with others, the more we profit ourselves. That's the basic idea of the Share Economy, the main topic for this year's edition of the next conference. When I look for examples and success stories, some company names always come to mind. One of them is clearly Sun Microsystems, coincidentially our first conference sponsor.
Tomorrow Matthias Schrader, the founder and CEO of SinnerSchrader and host of the next conference, will have a fireside talk about the Share Economy with Donatus Schmid, Marketing Director Sun Germany, at CeBIT Webciety. Some topics they will discuss:
"No other major IT platform vendor has committed so much of its core assets to the open-source software model as Sun Microsystems", stated Gartner in a paper published last year. Only Sun has open-sourced nearly the entire family of products, ranging from its operating system Solaris to the Java platform. Last year, Sun acquired the open-source database management system MySQL. Community Relations Manager Lenz Grimmer will give a talk at next09 about working for a virtual company (as he dubs MySQL).
Sun sponsors various open-source projects like OpenOffice.org, OpenSolaris, some Java implementations, NetBeans, and many others. Sun integrates open-source software like Firefox and Thunderbird into Solaris and resells the open-source OS Linux pre-installed on hardware. Sun embeds open source in closed-source commercial offerings and builds its products on a foundation of open-source solutions. And Sun also provides commercial products and services for open-source solutions.
StarOffice and OpenOffice.org
In 1999, Sun acquired StarOffice. One year later, they released the source code with the intention of building an open source development community around the software. The new project was named OpenOffice.org. Today, Sun stills sells StarOffice which is essentially an extended version of OpenOffice.org, while the latter is completely free.
In some respects this business model could be named Freemium, a term suggested by Jarid Lukin in 2006 and popularised later by Chris Anderson. The business network Xing is another successful example for this business model.
Recently, there has been some discussion about a branch from OpenOffice.org called Go-oo and supported by Novell. While some believe their claim ("Better, Faster, Freer"), others point out that Go-oo just divides resources, duplicates efforts and confuses users.
The Network is the Computer
For quite a long time, this was Sun's motto. Long-term CEO Scott McNealy, still Chairman, was an early advocate of the networked environment. Sun's Network Computer was a device called Java Station, based on JavaOS and SPARC hardware. While Network Computers - the name is a trademark of Oracle, by the way - didn't really take off, the basic idea is still alive and sees a comeback these days with the ubiquitous cheap netbooks.
It's also possible to view the iPhone as a kind of Network Computer and a first step in the direction to a network-enhanced iPod. As McNealy put it in 2006, quoted by The Register:
There's a pendulum thing where stuff is on the client side and then goes back into the network where it belongs. The answering machine put voicemail by the desk, and then it went back into the network. Your iPod is like your home answering machine. I guarantee you it will be hard to sell an iPod five or seven years from now when every cell phone can access your entire music library wherever you are.
Though Jonathan Schwartz announced the Sun Grid back in 2006, Sun seems somehow being late to the cloud computing party. Despite this perception, Sun has an impressive cloud computing portfolio ranging from MySQL over the Webstack and NetBeans to the virtualisation software xVM. Sun has expanded its cloud computing portfolio with the recent acquisition of Qlayer, a cloud computing company that automates the deployment and management of both public and private clouds.
Last December, Sun unveiled its new cloud computing division. Their strategy is focused on the migration of legacy apps and converting older enterprise data centers first. Sun's new Cloud Computing CTO, Lew Tucker, was recently quoted by eWeek:
"If you're a startup, it makes no sense to buy racks of servers," Tucker told an audience of about 200 at Cloud Connect, a cloud computing conference held Jan. 20 to 22 in Mountain View, Calif. "There are rooms of legacy computers downstairs here in the Computer History Museum--you don't want to spend your startup money on hardware that will join them." The data center itself has now become the computer, Tucker said, and that specifically is what has caused the current shift to SAAS-oriented structures.
Sun Startup Essentials
So what has Sun in store for start-ups today? "Industry-leading servers under $750, open source and discounted software, free technical advice and training", says the website of Sun Startup Essentials, the program especially aimed at start-ups. Have a look at the blog.
Sun Startup Essentials is a sponsor of next09. Take your chance to connect with Sun!