So by now you’ve heard the “big news.” After years of trying to figure out ways to make money on Java, and all the while pretending that they actually are making loads of money on Java (while refusing to break out any numbers) Sun has thrown in the towel. They’re open-sourcing Java — ie, giving it away free and declaring victory. My fave quote from My Little Pony came in this morning’s Journal, where he says the move “really allows us to look at the current billion installed base and say how do we get to the next billion.” Yes, but, Ponytail Boy, let’s say you get your “base” to a trillion, or a zillion, who cares if you’re not getting paid? Why does it matter? Well, but in the world of MLP logic, this would all be a huge success for Sun.
One thing they seem to be overlooking: Though Sun gets not a penny for Java, they still have to pay people to manage it. I’m pretty sure the Director of Open Source at Sun isn’t getting paid with “good will” and happy vibes from the “community.” Pretty sure he wants to be paid in U.S. dollars, since that is what he uses to pay his mortgage and kids’ college tuition. So think about this. The bigger Java gets, the more people Sun must hire and pay to manage it. Or: the more Sun “wins,” the more money it loses. Ponytail Boy has just turned a non-performing asset into a friggin boat anchor. And better yet, they’ve made their development process even more chaotic and confused and difficult to manage, because now any frigtard with a computer can start hacking away at Java and frigging it all up, and Sun gets to manage all of them, and can no longer set the direction of its own code. Wow, Jonathan, this is truly brilliant. A real departure from the old way of doing business, where you build your own product, and the more widgets you sell, the more money you make. Why you’ve just turned the entire field of economics on its head! Wow! Did they teach you this at McKinsey? Soon you can teach a course at Stanford about this. Heck, you could team-teach with Larry Lessig, explaining how you turned Java into a sinkhole that keeps digging itself bigger and bigger.
I’m sorry but I gotta say this. For those of us in the Valley who once admired Sun, it is just terribly sad to see this once-great company lurching around in a death spiral with this mad phony hippie at the controls. Say what you will about Scooter — and God knows I’ve said a lot — but at least he would have gone down fighting. Heck, even Palmisano at IBM has had the good sense to sell off the pieces of his company rather than just give them away. Note to Jonathan: Go study IBM. That is how you dismantle a company. Call old Sammy P, or Three-Fingers Lou. They’ll teach you all about it and maybe even give you some financial pointers on how to make profits go up even while sales are going down. (Hint: You raid the pension fund.)
Funny thing is that MLP called me over the weekend and told me about this Java news and he was all excited like he was going to be announcing some huge big news that was gonna shake the whole world to its very foundation. (No kidding, this is really how he thinks, like the whole universe revolves around him and everyone is just sitting around with bated breath, waiting to hear what hugely important move Sun is going to announce next. Ahem.) Then he started trying to get me to open-source OS X. I’m like, Dude, I’m not running a charity here, okay? I’ve got mouths to feed. He goes, Oh, but Steve, that’s not it at all, you’re totally missing the point, this is a way to build market share and end up really winning huge in the end. I’m like, Jonathan, let’s not kid ourselves. This open source maneuver is what companies do when they can’t figure out how to unload a piece of code and they figure they might as well get some good will out of it. It’s where old programs go to die. Used to be you could just sell crappy old programs to the bandits at Computer Associates. Now you gotta open source the code and try to take some credit for being some kind of big philanthropist. My feeling is, frig philanthropy. I’m all about the Benjamins. Always have been.
Jonathan, this is a hard truth but you have to swallow it: If you’ve got something that for whatever reason nobody is willing to pay you money for, that’s the world’s way of telling you to go do something else. I didn’t go to B school but even I know that. Hell, a kid running a lemonade stand knows that. And the fact is, my operating system kicks ass. It’s the best OS in the world. Damn right you gonna pay for it, motherfrigger, and you gonna pay a lot. And you know what? Unlike Java, people are happy to pay for my operating system, cause it friggin kicks ass.
Jonathan goes, But you’re giving away your OS for free, bundled onto your boxes. I’m like, Au contraire, dude. The hardware is the part that’s worth nothing. You know what a Mac Mini is? It’s a pretty white container for OS X. I control every step of how it’s loaded on there, and make it frigtard-proof. That’s what you’re paying me for.
Anyway, congratulations, Jonathan, on your earth-shattering news. Maybe now you should go blog about this. Seriously, the whole world is just dying to hear your every little thought about how you came to this momentous decision.