Sun Microsystems Chief Scientist and cofounder Bill Joy is leaving the company after 21 years of service. Joy's departure is amicable and isn't related to any strategy disagreements, both Joy and Sun were quick to point out. However, the loss of such a brilliant and well-respected scientist at such a crucial juncture in Sun's history will be hard on the company: Despite its reputation for supplying corporations with rock-solid UNIX-based solutions, Sun has struggled in recent years as low-cost upstarts based on Windows and Linux eat away at the company's revenues.
"Bill will continue to be an inspiration to all innovators," Scott McNealy, Sun's chairman, president, and CEO, said. "Bill's many contributions, including those to Java technology, SPARC, and \[the\] Solaris \[OS\], have helped define Sun as one of the most innovative and inspired places on the planet. We thank Bill for the strong legacy of innovation that he leaves in the hearts and souls of every Sun employee. He leaves behind an incredibly strong team of innovators."
Greg Papadopoulos, who will retain his chief technology officer (CTO) and executive vice president titles, will succeed Joy. Papadopoulos oversees a team that includes 12 Sun Fellows, including Java inventor James Gosling; more than 80 distinguished engineers; Sun Labs; and many open-source-related communities. Joy said he's unsure what the future holds, but he will likely return to business at some point. "And Scott may well be an investor," Joy noted.