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Sun CEO: Go Oracle, Beat IBM [Internal Memo]

schwartzOracle (ORCL) said this morning that it has received unconditional regulatory approval from the European Commission for its acquisition of Sun (JAVA). Below, the all-hands memo Sun CEO Jon Schwartz sent to employees following the announcement. Pay particular attention to the first letter of the first 7 paragraphs …

Believe it or not, it’s been more than nine months since Oracle first announced their intent to acquire Sun in April, 2009. And the ‘interim’ period has been tough on everyone–on our employees, and our partners and customers. Thankfully, that interim period is coming to an end, with regulatory approval from the European Union issued today, and only a few hurdles remaining–before Oracle formally expands beyond software to become the world’s most important systems company.

Even though we’re not quite across the finish line, I wanted to leave you with a few final thoughts.

All in all, it’s been an honor and privilege to work together. In my more than twenty years in the industry, the last thirteen at Sun, I’ve had a chance to work with and around an enormous diversity of companies, from every sector you can imagine. I can say with conviction that Sun’s people have always stood apart as the brightest, most passionate, and most inspiring. I’ve never had a bad day in my thirteen years for one very basic reason–I’ve always been surrounded by the best and brightest individuals I’ve ever come across. That’s been an honor and privilege, for which I’m enormously thankful.

Technology from Sun, alongside our employees and partners, have changed the world. We’ve opened markets, elections and economies. We’ve helped build the world’s most important and valuable businesses. We’ve played a key role in discovering new drugs, in bringing education and healthcare to those in need, and supplying the world with an incredible spectrum of entertainment, from smartphones to social networking. I doubt any company has had such a significant influence over the way we see or experience the world. I once told Scott McNealy he was the Henry Ford of the technology industry, making remarkable innovations accessible to anyone, and creating an immense number of jobs around the globe for those that made use of them. I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of my association with that cause and the people behind it, and the value we created for ourselves and those that exploited our innovations.

I also know we’ve had more than our share of very tough challenges. Amidst the toughest market and customer situations imaginable, I’m proud we’ve always acted with integrity, with a sense for what’s right, and not simply what’s expedient. Over the years, I’ve heard time and again, from those inside and outside the company, “I like and I trust Sun.” 

Building that good will is something to which you’ve all contributed. And you have every right to be very proud of it.

Make no mistake, it’s been an enormous asset.

So, to the sales and SE teams across the world who continually give their all to bring the numbers home–thank you for the trust you’ve built with customers, and the results you’ve delivered. I hope you’re prepared to have the wind at your back, you deserve it.

To the service professionals who every day build, maintain and run the world’s most important data centers–thank you for your excellence and discipline, 7×24.

To the professionals who run the functions and processes that are the company’s spinal column–thank you, we’d be paralyzed without you.

And lastly – to the engineers and marketers who’ve fostered a perpetual belief that innovation creates its own opportunity – thank you. You’re right. Innovation does create its own opportunity. Like Oracle, we’re an engineering company in our heart and soul, our potential together is limitless.

Now many of you know that I came to Sun when a company I helped to found was acquired in 1996. I’ve also led, and been a part of many, many acquisitions at Sun, both large and small. From those experiences, I’ve learned one very clear lesson–the single most important driver of a successful acquisition are the people involved–and how committed they are to the new owner’s mission.

And the most effective mechanism I’ve seen for driving that commitment begins with a simple, but emotionally difficult step. 

Upon change in control, every employee needs to emotionally resign from Sun. Go home, light a candle, and let go of the expectations and assumptions that defined Sun as a workplace. Honor and remember them, but let them go.

For those that ultimately won’t become a part of Oracle, this will be the first step in a new adventure. Sun has a tremendous reputation across the planet, well beyond Silicon Valley. It’s a great brand to have on your resume. We’re known as self-starters, capable of ethically managing through complexity and change, for delivering when called upon, and for inventing and building the future. With the world economy stabilizing, I’m very confident you’ll land on your feet. You’re a talented, tenacious group, and there’s always opportunity for great people.

For those that have roles at Oracle, may you start with a clean slate, ready to take on the myriad opportunities ahead. With the same passion and tenacity for Oracle’s success that you’ve had for Sun’s, and a renewed sense of energy around executing on a far broader mission. There is no doubt in my mind you, and Oracle, will be remarkably successful, beyond the market’s wildest expectations. But it’s important you come to work thinking, “Sun is a brand, Oracle’s my company.” Don’t look for ways to preserve or dwell in “how we used to do things.” Look for ways to help customers, grow the market, and improve Oracle’s performance. 

Sun is a brand, Oracle is your company.

And to that end, with nine months of getting to know them, I’ve found Oracle to be truly remarkable, led by remarkable people. From Larry on down, they understand the enormity of the opportunity before them, and they’re more than prepared to execute on it – across the board. I’ve seen their commitment and focus, now they need yours. I’m confident you’ll give it the 10,000% effort it deserves–and we’ll all see the end result.

So thank you, again, for the privilege and honor of working together. The internet’s made the world a far smaller place–so I’m sure we’ll be bumping into one another. 

Go Oracle!


[Image credit: igrec /Fllickr]

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  • davebarnes
    "Sun is a brand, Oracle is your company."
    Oh, sorry. Oracle was your company. Please pick up your pink slip as you leave the room.
  • Andrew Augustine
    This is not the time for pessimism. Let us pray God speed for our corporate brethren.
  • scot4ever
  • In the Sun's purchase, Oracle is snapping not only the most broadcasted middleware language, but also the most competitive Open-source database of the market ... NQ Logic recommends reading about the rest of the Oracle's buy impact on the Open Source community at
  • rogerpetersen
    McPony sounds phony...
  • notsureifimstaying
    Has Jonathan been working on this memo since last April? He certainly hasn't done anything else since
  • guest19780
    Easy for pony-tail boy to say as he rides off into the sunset with millions of dollars in his payout pocket like other Sun execs who truly ruined the company. Rank and file get screwed and they get millions for failure. How quaint. The little guy gets screwed again.
  • Andrew Augustine
    I think your criticism is not fair. You don't start with a conclusion and then apply it to any company you like. At least they were able to sell the company. Many companies simply dissolve into oblivion.
  • Ben Carlson
    Most Sun employees I know would rather they had dissolved into oblivion (aka "gone down fighting, believing in their principles" etc.), than been sold down the river by Schwartz.
  • Andrew Augustine
    Then you must not know many Sun employees. This statement is so illogical.
  • trudyhotdog
    Sorry dude, I was ready to fight, but there was a bigger picture here. I didn't want to see everything lost.
  • scot4ever
    Andrew, you seem to be the one who doesn't know many Sun employees. I'm an ex-Sun employee who knows many, many Sun employees and I can tell you my friend the comment made by guest19780 is very much in line with a vast number of Sun folks. And let me say that this is not because they have been let go...the opinion was the same for those who are still with the company. Catch a clue dude!!!
  • 1ofthosegettingscrewed
    Guest19780 you are 100% correct. The Keystone Cops (Executives) that made the lousy business decisions bringing this company down are walking away with lucrative packages whilst the "lucky ones" that are offered a position @ "O" get to become new hires. The execs basically get to retire, the worker bees get to start over.
  • simvistatin
    My little pony does it again!!!

    For those who don't know, the exec staff actually gave him this name. :)
  • Mike2011
    Sorry for the duplicate post.
  • Mike2011
    “I like and I trust Sun.” Does anyone say the same about Oracle? Didn't think so.

    And what's with the "10,000% effort"? It sure trumps George McGovern's fateful endorsement of his would-be running mate Tom Eagleton. I hope it doesn't portend a 10x flameout upcoming.
  • Ben Carlson
    "I've never had a bad day". Your employees would beg to differ, JS. That's two companies in a row that you've had to sell off because you were incapable of leading them forward.
  • sunsecret
    The first letters of the first 7 paragraphs of the memo have a hidden message:

    "BEAT IBM"
  • scot4ever
    Keep drinking the coolaid!!
  • jru313
    Wow, could the respondents of this article be anymore pessimistic? Sun was faltering for years, we all know that, Oracle is a marketing machine, we all know that. Together they can hopefully build the Sun brand into a powerhouse that it once was. I'm optimistic and can't wait to see what comes out of this. Go Oracle/Sun!
  • bent0ne
    Schwartz will never get it. He didn't understand it when we purchased his company, when he was my boss and continues to show his inability to learn & improve.

    It is not one side for anything with an acquistion. Both or all sides must pull together and it is called integration.

    Just look as all of his acquisitions and the constant (every 6 month) layoff or RIF (reduction in workforce) while keeping a constant ~40K workforce.

    Sad to see one person and his staff run one of the most significant corporations into the ground
  • trudyhotdog
    So sad. So sad.
  • scot4ever
    You said it my friend; however you have to remember that McNealy put him in place so what does that say McNealy's judgement.
    Having worked for Sun 9 years out of the last 10 I can tell you that almost every employee I ever spoke to over the period had nothing good to say for Schwartz and were frustrated as hell because of the lack of direction and sound leadership from the board. The aquisition of STK was the biggest head shaker for just about everyone outside of the boardroom.
  • concerned4java
    Incredible that a company like Sun could not survive with so much great technology behind them. The only reason could be the incompetent top execs. While the rank and file did their job in turning out these great technology, wonder what the top execs were doing?
  • craigpLaidOffFromSUN
    All I know is that I'm GLAD I got my RIF payout in the bank this morning (mourning).

    I weep for all of my Sun brethren who will be disposed of, like so many dirty diapers. I weep for them because I understand Oracle's layoff packages are pretty slim compared to what we got. I weep because there will be 15,000 more folks competing for the same jobs I am. I weep because everything will be outsourced and soon no one will be able to get a job.

    I weep... I weep....

    But mostly I weep cause I can't get no f***ing health insurance at a reasonable price!
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