Sun's Scott McNealy: 'Thanks for a great 28 years'

Company founder bids an emotional farewell to his employees

Sun founder Scott McNealy yesterday holstered the snark and poured his heart out in a farewell letter to company employees and stakeholders.

Sun CEO Jonathan Schwart had penned a similar note a few days ago as the process of handing over the keys to Oracle comes to fruition.

You can read McNealy's full missive at CNet. Here are a few choice excerpts:

On writing the good-bye:

It turns out that one simple message to the large and diverse Sun community is actually quite hard to craft. Even for a big mouth who is always ready with a clever quip.

On the bottom line:

So, to be honest, this is not a note this founder wants to write. Sun, in my mind, should have been the great and surviving consolidator. But I love the market economy and capitalism more than I love my company.

On his pride:

First and foremost, Sun innovated like crazy. We took it to the limit (see Eagles). And though we did not monetize our inventions as well as we could have, few companies have the track record in R&D that we had over the last 28 years. This made working at Sun really cool. Thanks to all of you inventors and risk takers who changed how we live.

He doesn't mention Microsoft, but ...

Sun did not cheat, lie, or break the rule of law or decency. While we enjoyed breaking the rules of conventional wisdom and archaic business practice, and for sure loved to win in the market, we did so with a solid reputation for integrity.

On the future of Sun technology:

And what we are about will live on in Sparc, Solaris, Java, our products, and our spirit. Well past everyone's recollections of what we did together. I will never forget, though.

Oracle is getting a crown jewel of the technology industry. They will do great things with Sun. Do your best to support them, and keep the Sun spirit alive and well in the industry. Our children will be better for it.

Schwartz's farewell letter can be read at All Things Digital here. Here's a taste:

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.

Demonstrating good humor at a difficult moment, Schwartz's letter even features an Easter egg.

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