Kirkpatrick, David
October 2004
Fortune;10/4/2004, Vol. 150 Issue 7, p46
This article looks at the role of blogs in company business. Jonathan Schwartz, president and COO of Sun Microsystems, has recently criticized statements by Intel executives, mused that IBM might buy Novell, and complained about a CNET.com article--all by writing a blog on a Sun website. Schwartz is the highest-ranking executive yet to embrace the new medium. About 35,000 people read his blog (http://blogs.sun.com) in a typical month, including customers, employees, and competitors. Schwartz encourages all Sun's 32,000 employees to blog, though only about 100 are doing it so far. But they include at least three senior managers other than Schwartz as well as development engineers and marketers. Says Schwartz: "I don't have the advertising budget to get our message to, for instance, Java developers working on handset applications for the medical industry. But one of our developers, just by taking time to write a blog, can do a great job getting our message out to a fanatic readership." Businesses are learning --sometimes the hard way--that this new medium has pitfalls. David Farrell, Sun's chief compliance officer, notes that the company will soon require employees to agree to specific guidelines before starting blogs. Companies are also worried about unflattering portrayals and leaks.


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