Scott McNealy, Sun Microsystems' chairman and chief executive officer, launched comical attacks on his company's competitors and outlined a profoundly optimistic take on the Internet's expansion during a keynote speech on Thursday at Oracle's OpenWorld event in the US.
McNealy roused the Open World audience with assaults on some of the industry's major PC players. Sun's top man said that Hewlett-Packard engaged in financial wrangling when it issued its latest earnings report. HP invented profit margins using new math calculations, McNealy charged. He also warned the audience to watch out for the upcoming earnings season when he expects Intel, Microsoft and Dell - a triumvirate of PC behemoths - to report sluggish results.
He also said that the Internet is a vastly untapped medium for both businesses and consumers. While the public hears countless tales of dot-coms going bankrupt, the most fruitful applications of Web-based technology have yet to be launched, he said.
"Everyone is nervous about the dot-com thing - the bubble bursting," McNealy said. "There are some challenges, but they are short term challenges for the Internet economy."
McNealy pointed to four main segments where he expects the Internet to grow most profoundly over the next few years: mobile devices, messaging, voice over IP and entertainment.
A socket in someone's home might have an Internet connection and send a message to a bulb manufacturer when a light is about to go out. The manufacturer could start building the part ahead of time, send the unit out to the home and automatically email the customer an invoice for the sale.
In addition, McNealy said he could hook his son's car to the Internet and find out where he is and how fast he is driving. An alarm might go off at the McNealy household when the sixteen-year-old goes ten miles over the speed limit.
"Some people call that Big Brother," McNealy quipped. "I call that Dad."