Jonathan Schwartz deserves better. Sure, he’s got a rich payout from his years at Sun. Sure, he’s leaving because Ellison doesn’t need anybody explaining why the cloud is a good thing. Sure, there are a lot of hurting people who can use Jonathan as an easy target for what’s become of the dot in dot.com.
But what Jonathan did for Sun, and the rest of the industry, was to twist the conventional wisdom of the enterprise into a new shape now being leveraged by a host of successful players. Jonathan somehow got that ubiquity in the consumer space would translate into platform power. The rising tide of the social network has its roots in many of the things Jonathan was saying long before it was popular or even wise politically.
Probably nobody could have pulled off what Jonathan was tasked to do. At Oracle’s absorbathon last week, Larry Ellison reiterated his nothing-new-here cloud bashing while actually affirming the investments Schwartz made in consolidating the best of breed system solutions Oracle will use to go after weakened competitors like SAP who looked the other way as Salesforce expanded.
The rumblings at the end were that Jonathan couldn’t close the IBM deal, forcing McNeally to quick-punt to Ellison. But Ellison’s analysis of the Sun assets shows that most if not all of the value Schwartz claimed in the financial community will be reflected in revenue from Day One, that keeping Java away from IBM will turn out to be a hugely valuable investment, and that a nuanced use of MySQL as a customer-facing sales tool for the SMB market will stave off the growth of any other open source database.
As the smoke clears from this epic consolidation, what’s left are the explosive pairing of Apple and Google in the new mobile architecture, predicted by Schwartz with his relelntless observation that devices go to free. With Oracle/Sun now positioned as the fuel for the virtualization layer of the cloud, the big freakin’ webtone switch of this era, the iPad Era launches a race to spread the gospel of the financial community infrastructure across the micromessage bus and its media partners.
Jonathan Schwartz was brought in to finesse the transition from the Good Old Days to the Good New Days, and he’ll deserve to harvest irreplaceable time with his young family. It will be interesting to see him return, because he has little need to reinvent himself given his early and prescient take on what is now transpiring.