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Sun president: PCs are so yesterday

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I read the article below on News.com
Such news article unfortunately disappear fast. That's why I decided to
republish this article on my site. The chief of SUN (owner of Java) gives his
vision of tomorrow, when services, not applications and handhelds, not PCs will
dominate in the computer world... Why I publish it? To give you a time to
prepare yourself, when one day you will discover that world around you is
changed and you on the way to lose your job. If you read it I promise you that
you probably will not lose it Smile

SAN JOSE, Calif.--Increasingly, the personal computer is a relic.

So asserted Jonathan Schwartz, president of server and software maker Sun
Microsystems. Instead, what has become important are Web services on the
Internet and the mobile phones most will use to access them, he argued at a
Friday speech here at a meeting of the American India Foundation.

"The majority of the applications that will drive the next wave of
innovation will be services, not applications that run on the desktop. The real
innovation is occurring in the network and the network services," Schwartz
said.

Sun, which sells the back-end infrastructure that powers such services, has
promulgated variations of this message for years. But there's evidence the idea
has some merit.

Schwartz points to the increasing wealth and power of companies, like eBay,
Google, Yahoo and Amazon.com, that profit from free services available over the
network. Among his audience, many more people said they'd rather have access to
Internet services than their desktop computing applications. And Microsoft--the
company with the biggest financial stake in the PC software business--has
struggled to cope with the arrival of Web services.

The threat to PCs is twofold. Not only are services moving to the network,
Schwartz said, but PCs won't be the way people use those services--particularly
in poorer areas of the world that have risen higher up Sun's corporate priority
list. Instead, that access will come through mobile phones.

"The majority of the world will first experience the Internet through their
handset," Schwartz said.

When it comes to aiding developing regions' digital development, "Our
collective generation believes the desktop PC is the most important thing to
give to people. I don't buy that. The most important thing to give is access to
the Internet."

Since Schwartz became Sun's president last year, the company has touted a
campaign to bridge the digital divide, for example by promoting freely available
open-source software such as OpenOffice.org. Schwartz doesn't pretend his
company's motives are altruistic, though.

"Clearly it's in my company's best interest to have 50 million people in
sub-Saharan Africa join the network," Schwartz said.

But he does argue that there's more to be gained from pervasive network access
than just a restoration of Sun's financial health and improvement to its
stagnant stock price. The network also helps bring value to society, he said.

"The Internet has clearly become, as electricity and railroads did before
it, a social utility," Schwartz said.

One case in point was visible with the online classified ad site Craigslist
during the effort to cope with the Katrina hurricane that devastated states on
the Gulf Coast. And he expects more with the approach of the next storm, Rita.

"The Internet--and one organization in particular called Craigslist--played
an absolutely central role to recovery efforts," Schwartz said. "While
the Federal Emergency Management Agency was stumbling and trying to figure out
how to present its information, Craigslist was providing a connection vehicle
for people who wanted to find their friends, their family members, their
pets."


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