Table: Fighting Words
Scott McNealy has never liked Microsoft much, but now his fervor is at an all-time high. Here's a history:
McNealy co-founds Sun on the premise that networked computers that share files and processing power will be more useful than stand-alone PCs.
Sun goes after Microsoft's Windows customers with software for PCs and technology that lets them run PC programs on Sun workstations. McNealy claims it will render Windows "frosting on a road apple," yet Sun makes almost no headway.
After Microsoft scores big with Windows 95, Sun rallies the industry around its Java technology for Web applications. McNealy hypes "Java Stations" that will tap Web servers--minimizing the need for Windows PCs. His pet name for Windows: "Hairball."
Microsoft tweaks Java to make it work better with Windows. Sun sues. When Microsoft calls on Sun to pass stewardship of Java to a standards body, McNealy says: "Having Microsoft give us advice on open standards is like W.C. Fields giving moral advice to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir."'
McNealy tells Congress that Microsoft's hold on software business is like "General Motors having the ability to decide what type of gasoline you put into your car."
Sun is riding high on Internet sales, and Microsoft is facing a court-ordered breakup (Judge Thomas Jackson). Still, McNealy warns that Microsoft should be stopped from using the cash hoard from its "ill-gotten" monopoly to buy startups.
The government drops its plans to break up Microsoft. McNealy's worries reach a new high. He says Microsoft's Web authentication service, Passport, will help it dominate the Net. He vows to offer an alternative. "It's mankind against Microsoft," he says.