"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 26 January 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

YAJSU's Sun-roasted Java


[Java Team]

What do you do when your company

harbors a hot-shot band of

entrepreneurs destined to buck

the system? If you're Scott

McNealy, CEO of Sun, dealing

with the original Java team, you

spin off a startup firm to give

them the latitude they crave.


Only one problem: they do the

same thing.



Arthur van Hoff (Java compiler

author, HotJava, and AWT

architect), Sami Shaio (AWT

implementor), and Kim Polese

(Java Product Marketing

Manager) are leaving Sun's new

JavaSoft unit to form YAJSU -

Yet Another Java Start Up.

Jonathan Payne (HotJava

implementor) is leaving StarWave

cohort and former Java team member

Patrick Naughton clueless in

Seattle to join them. Add to that

that James Gosling is a

would-be grok star who doesn't

write code or read email

anymore, and it's difficult not

to conclude that JavaSoft is

iced, 17 days after it was



JavaSoft, of course, was created

as an independent business unit

to allow the skunkworks Java

team to call its own shots. That

most of the core of the original

Java team is calling it quits

could very well be a reflection

on the group's faith in the

McNealy-appointed president of

JavaSoft, Dr. Alan Baratz.

Baratz's dubious credentials

include President and CEO of

Delphi Internet Services, where,

with $400 million, he delivered

the decidedly unimpressive

MCI/News Corp. umbrella service.



What's remarkable about this

defection is that the proposed

Apple buyout by Sun is made

possible by a stock increase

fueled in part by the fruit of

the departing group's labors.

And the strange brew that makes

SnApple possible is Java. If

there's any synergy between the

companies, it's with Apple

providing mass-market net

clients and Sun providing

high-end servers, with Java as

the network OS. Not that anyone

at Sun or Apple knows anything

about successfully producing a

low-end mass-market product, and

not that the thought of a

low-end OpenDoc-based Java

client hasn't been thunk before

by the folks at Apple and IBM -

it's just that back then they

called it Taligent and Kaleida.


[Golden Handcuffs]

But whether or not Apple is for

sale, Sun now needs to develop a

strategic direction for Java in

the absence of the human beans

to grind out a version 2.0.

What's amazing is that a company

poised to buy the $3.89 billion

Apple couldn't purchase a few

megadollar golden handcuffs

for the departing Java crew.

Admittedly, McNealy was

probably more concerned with

getting Apple employees to work

for him than with keeping his own.



While the gang at YAJSU tally up

their no-strings equity, they

shouldn't pat themselves on the

back too soon - they don't call

it Yet Another Java Start Up for

nothing. After all, you can have

all the scones and biscotti you

want, but you can't open one of

those trendy cafes without a

healthy relationship with Juan


courtesy of Webster and Strep Throat