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Schwartz Moves the Deck Chairs on the Titanic

Schwartz Moves the Deck Chairs on the Titanic

Sun's shiny new president and chief operating officer Jonathan Schwartz fired some of Sun's top folks and Sun rushed out Thursday to say so maybe to deflect attention from the nasty third-quarter numbers it was posting at the same time.

Sun's chief marketing and strategy Mark Tolliver is out.

So is Neil Knox, the guy who was running volume servers.

They are currently pursuing "other interests" and are the first of the 3,300 layoffs Sun said it would make.

Evidently Clark Masters, who was running high-end servers, is now minding Sun's relationship with federal accounts, which one can presumably take to be the corporate equivalent of being exiled to Siberia. Jonathan said Masters' is "considering various options." So he's out too.

There is now a Throughput Systems organization, Through Computing being Sun's latest banner slogan, headed by David Yen, who runs Sun's once-precious Sparc operation. Evidently Dr Yen doesn't have enough to do now that they've killed some of his chips because besides Sun's microprocessors, he gets to run high-end systems, which are all Sparc-based in Sun's mind, and Sparc-based low-end systems.

If this approach sounds vaguely familiar, check over at IBM where they've moved IBM's proprietary Power chip into the server unit. Of course the server operation at IBM handles all its servers. Not so at Sun.

Sun's newfangled low-end Intel and Opteron servers go into a Network Systems organization that will be run by acting (note acting) executive VP John Fowler, who until five minutes ago was the CTO of Sun's Software unit, where Jonathan reigned until his recent apotheosis. Odd having a software wonk run hardware. Maybe when Jonathan moves the furniture around all the legs aren't quite even.

Anyway, Fowler also gets to be "lead technology officer for Schwartz," according to Sun's announcement. One wonders what such an arrangement implies for Sun CTO Greg Papadopoulos, who last time we looked was supposed to report to Schwartz.

Kealia Inc, the Andy Bechtolsheim start-up Sun just finished acquiring for 20 million shares of stock, is now part of this new Network Systems unit since Kealia - a name Sun is dropping because nobody could pronounce it - is supposed to be doing wonderful thing with Opteron chips.

Bechtolsheim is the returned Sun co-founder who designed Sun's original workstations. He is now a senior VP and chief architect of Network Systems and a member of Sun's executive management team. He has been reassigned his employee "number one" badge.

The Throughput Systems organization, which is a reference to upcoming Sparc chips that are supposed to press the pedal to the metal, is supposed to be responsible for driving the company's Throughput Computing and Throughput Networking initiatives, whatever they turn out to be, and the Network Systems organization is supposed to focus on "low-cost horizontally scaled systems with off-the-shelf components that leverage industry economics," Sun said.

Needless to say both Yen and Fowler report to Schwartz.

Anil Gadre, ever the survivor, has been named interim chief marketing officer to replace Tolliver, who you will remember used to run the Sun-Netscape Alliance. Brian Sutphin is VP, corporate development.

Also reporting to Schwartz are Mark Canepa, who still runs storage, John Loiacono, who replaced Schwartz over at Sun Software, Robert Youngjohns, who's running global sales, Marissa Peterson, who's running worldwide operations, general counsel Michael Dillon and controller Robyn Denholm.

The last time this many heads rolled at Sun was in 2002 when Schwartz's predecessor Ed Zander left along with CFO Mike Lehman, server chief John Shoemaker and services chief Larry Hambly.

Sun, which warned that its third fiscal quarter was going to be shabby, said Thursday that it lost $760 million, or 23 cents a share, on revenues down 50% year-over-year and 8.2% sequentially to $2.65 billion. The loss includes a non-cash charge of $300 million from some deferred tax assets and $203 million for workforce and real estate restructuring.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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