Key Sun Sales Executive Defects To Microsoft

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Sun Microsystems' top software sales executive has left the company to join Microsoft, CRN learned Thursday.

Barbara Gordon, who until about a month ago led Sun's software sales efforts as vice president of worldwide software sales under Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's executive vice president of software, now is running the top 50 accounts for Microsoft, according to several sources.

Another Sun software executive, John Halliwell, has assumed Gordon's duties at Sun, sources said.

Reached by phone in her office at Microsoft Thursday, Gordon declined to comment.

A Sun spokesman confirmed Gordon's departure but was unable to comment on her replacement. Meanwhile, a Microsoft spokeswoman said that Gordon is in her second week on the job as vice president of Microsoft's global accounts, which are the software giant's most "strategic" customers.

Sources said Gordon left Sun because she was unhappy with her position and with the fact that there were no salespeople reporting to her. Last year, Sun consolidated all of its sales teams, both hardware and software, under the general sales organization, run by Sun Executive Vice President for Global Sales Robert Youngjohns.

"Sun gave its old-boys club of salespeople, who had been there for 15 years, responsibility for North American sales and passed her over," a Sun partner told CRN.

The partner called the move "bad news" for Sun because Gordon, who previously was Sun Chairman, President and CEO Scott McNealy's chief of staff, "knows Sun inside and out."

Gordon's switching of loyalties comes at a critical time for Sun, as the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company is under pressure to boost revenue and is readying two software packages to help Sun do just that. As reported by CRN Wednesday, Sun will release its Java Desktop System, a Linux-based desktop OS, the week of Dec. 8. The company is touting the system as an open-source alternative to Microsoft Windows.

Sun also is readying the general availability of its Java Enterprise System, a stack of Java software for building enterprise-scale Java applications and Web services, which will go head-to-head against Microsoft's .Net platform and related software. That software suite is scheduled to be available next month as well.

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