"Two industry titans painted vastly different worldviews of
the future of technology this week. Microsoft president and CEO
Steve Ballmer called a contention by rival Sun Microsystems
chairman and CEO Scott McNealy that software is merely a feature of
hardware "the most absurd think I've heard in my life."
"On Tuesday at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo here, McNealy predicted
the demise of the standalone software world, saying software is
merely a feature of hardware devices, from handheld appliances to
big servers. "Software is a feature, not an industry," he
"In speaking to conference attendees, McNealy portrayed Sun
Microsoystems Inc. (stock: SUNW) as not a chip or server company,
but a maker of "big freaking webtone servers," essentially black
boxes whose inner workings are a mystery but that basically always
work. He said the Microsoft Corp. (stock: MSFT) model of one
company providing software for another company's hardware leads to
incompatibility and confusion."