SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Would there be iPhones, iPads and iPods on the market today if Sun Microsystems had been able to close a deal to buy out Apple in the mid-1990s?
No, says former Sun CEO Scott McNealy. "If we had bought Apple, there wouldn't have been iPods or iPads ... I'd have screwed that up," McNealy conceded in a talk Feb. 24 with another former Sun top executive, ex-President Ed Zander, at a Churchill Club dinner at the Santa Clara Convention Center.
McNealy (pictured) and Zander, headline speakers at the event, talked about their years at Sun when that company was one of the world's top producers of servers, workstations, data storage systems and Unix data center software. It also had a healthy enterprise processor business with its Sparc architecture.
A Wall Street darling in the 1980s and '90s, Sun fell on hard times in the 2000s and ultimately was bought by Oracle in January 2010 for $7.4 billion.
But there was a time when Sun, at its wealthiest, was poised to buy Apple when it was at the lowest point in its storied history.