Sun Microsystems is gone, but its legacy is everywhere


Yesterday, I drove past the former Sun Microsystems headquarters for the first time since Facebook moved in earlier this month. That and reading about former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz’s new startup reminded me just how influential a company Sun was, despite its somewhat unfortunate fate.

Innovation was never Sun’s problem, but monetizing those innovations was. Evidence of Sun’s innovative streak is scattered throughout Silicon Valley and the greater IT world in the form of former employees who went on to do big things after leaving the company.

Here’s what they’ve been up to. Maybe we’ll talk about Facebook the same way 30 years from now.

Andy Bechtolsheim (co-founder): Arista Networks (founder and chief development officer)

Bill Joy (co-founder): Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers (partner)

Vinod Khosla (co-founder): Khosla Ventures (partner)

Scott McNealy (co-founder): WayIn (founder and chairman)

Bryan Cantrill: Joyent (VP of engineering)

Alfred Chuang: BEA Systems (s orcl) (co-founder, president and CEO); Magnet Systems (founder and CEO)

James Gosling (co-creator, Java): Liquid Robotics (chief software architect)

Marc Fleury: JBoss (s rht) (founder)

Gary Lauterbach: SeaMicro (CTO)

Chris Malachowsky and Curtis Priem: Nvidia (co-founders)

Peter Norvig: Google (s goog) (director of research)

Greg Papadopoulos (EVP and CTO): New Enterprise Associates (partner)

Radia Perlman: Intel (s intc) (Intel Fellow)

Eric Schmidt (CTO): Google (chairman, former CEO)

Jonathan Schwartz (president and CEO): CareZone (founder and CEO)

Marc Tremblay: Microsoft (s msft) (distinguished engineer)

Bill Vass (president and COO, Sun Microsystems Federal): Liquid Robotics (president and CEO)

Ed Zander (president and COO): Motorola (s mot) (chairman and CEO, 2004-08)

Image courtesy of Flickr user viHannes.

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