AW: One of the services greater bandwidth will enable is the application service provider model of computing, in which software users will essentially rent applications over the Internet instead of buying them for installation on each desktop. How well will the ASP model be accepted?
McNealy: We believe that service providers will revo-lutionize business in ways that selling dog food online never could - saving companies money and freeing them to concentrate on their core business rather than technology. Some cultural hurdles still need to be crossed before outsourcing reaches its true potential, but I think we're getting there. It's all about trust and quality of service, which we're addressing with our SunTone certification program. The SunTone program sets rigorous standards for building a highly reliable, highly scalable service-delivery environment - from architecture to operations, applications to security, service policies to technical competencies.

AW: Are you confident that the wireless infrastructure will meet demand in the U.S. and the rest of the world? What technologies is Sun betting on?
McNealy:
 I would never bet against bandwidth. The opportunity cost of not meeting demand is just too high. Wireless technology is a key element in delivering highly personalized, context-aware Web services, and the opportunities there are way too incredible to pass up. The benefits of smart services are innumerable, the potential market unbounded. But to work, these services cannot be tied to any single company or platform. So, as usual, we're betting on open standards. That's very different from Microsoft's .NET vision [the company's ASP initiative for Web-based software].

AW: Explain something you've been pushing that you call portal computing and how you see it unfolding.
McNealy:
 Everyone knows about Web portals such as AOL and Yahoo. Imagine extending that concept to provide specialized applications and services to customers, suppliers, partners - even your own employees.

At Sun, custom portals enable us to meet the unique needs of software developers, equipment designers, technology partners, and early-access participants - all kinds of individual companies, collaborative groups, and special-interest audiences that we engage with everyday. Through specialized content and services, we do our best to give everyone just what they need - anytime they need it, from any network device. The same is true for our own employees. They're able to work from home or on the road through a secure portal that gives them access to all the Web-based tools they have at the office - e-mail, calendar, address book, payroll, expense reporting, and benefits management.