What do you do if your company is reported to be involved in an $8 billion acquisition and you’re already scheduled to give a big speech?******If you’re Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, you honor the commitment and then make a swift exit.******The pony-tailed CEO took the lectern on Wednesday at the Open Source Business Conference at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel, his first public appearance since reports surfaced last week that IBM and Sun were in acquisition talks (reports that neither company has so far commented on).******While the putative deal has produced endless column inches of analysis and speculation in the business media, it had no place in Schwartz’s remarks. Instead, Schwartz spoke about Sun’s recently-released cloud computing service, largely rehashing talking points he made in an earlier series of blog posts.******The most intriguing nugget, for those running Schwartz’s comments through the filter of an IBM deal, was his characterization of Sun’s open source operating system as the “single most valuable” part of the company, as it represents the key building block for Sun to play in high-margin, adjacent markets like networking.******When his 30 minutes were up, Schwartz slipped behind a curtain and retreated backstage, conveniently avoiding any reporters in the audience eager for ask him about the IBM deal.******And when a couple of reporters greeted him at the hotel’s exit, Schwartz proved equally aloof – the surprised CEO was good-mannered enough to shake hands, but didn’t break his stride, or his silence, to answer a question about the progress of the IBM deal. Maybe next time…
This is turning out to be an earnings season when all bets are off on how technology giants will perform. With tech earnings taking the market on a roller-coaster ride, it wouldn’t be surprising if investors are a little sick in the stomach already.
IBM Chief Executive Sam Palmisano gloated to an audience of companies that sell its wares that Big Blue would make it through the current economic downturn with flying colors, since it is old and experienced. Riffing on the idea of age, he compared his tech behemoth to Internet star Google Inc, whose CEO Eric Schmidt was about to join him on stage in LA.