Scott McNealy, Sun Microsystems? chief executive, stepped up the anti-Microsoft campaign yesterday, when he attested that the software giant should be forced to divest itself of its minority interests or be broken up.
McNealy's comments took the tirade by Oracle chief Larry Ellison, earlier this week, (see Newswire 27 May) a step further.p> ?I would say you must divest yourself of all minority investments and no longer make any other equity investments of any size in any other company and use your $2.5 billion to create and innovate...rather than buying, bundling and beating up on smaller competitors, who are out there actually trying to innovate,? he said at a lunchtime speech to the Boston Chief Executives Club.
?All it?s doing is buying its way. I don?t know what it?s doing with its research and development budget, probably trying to keep their PCs up and running. But, I would try divestiture as step one, and if it remained incorrigible, I would break it up. Not horizontally, but I would create three Microsofts,? he continued.
At a meeting of the Detroit Economic Club, however, McNealy softened his line. ?That would be a last resort. If Microsoft changed the ways it operates within the law, it wouldn?t be necessary,? he explained, although he added that he thought it unlikely the software monolith would change tack unless the government kept up the pressure on its top executives.
As a result, he was scathing about the testimony of Bill Gates, Microsoft?s chairman, before the Senate earlier this month. Gates had said his company was an innovator and not a monopolist predator, but McNealy countered: ?Software?s different. Isn?t that like Rockefeller saying oil?s different?? John Rockefeller?s Standard Oil company was broken up in 1911 for monopolistic practices.
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