Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, January 17, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Will some of those other rich technology companies follow Microsoft's lead? We'll have to wait and see. Shares of Sun Microsystems up just a nickel today, although the company beat Street estimates, Sun posted its quarterly loss ever. Earlier I asked Sun Micro chief Scott McNealy all about it.


SCOTT MCNEALY, CEO, SUN MICROSYSTEMS (SUNW): The real big issue that's confusing some folks is that we had a $2 billion-plus write-off for intangibles and goodwill, a non-cash write-off of stuff that is basically coming off the balance sheet through the income statement, even though it didn't go through the income statement on the way to the balance sheet. So it's a little bit of an accounting inconsistency. But that's just the way it works.

CAVUTO: All right. Now this comes right after we got news that Microsoft is going to start offering a dividend. What did you think of that?

MCNEALY: I think they're having a hard time investing their money in these other businesses profitably and find ways to go do that. And they've got so much cash that's probably what they needed to go do. We've got a solid cash kitty of $5.3 billion in the bank right now. But we like it there. We're going to keep it there. We think cash is king.

CAVUTO: No dividends for you?

MCNEALY: No dividends. If the tax laws were to change significantly we might reconsider. But right now we have no dividends strategy.

CAVUTO: But the fact that so many competitors in your business, even not directly competitors, to you, are considering this, you know, the Oracles, Intel might beef up its dividend, IBM might beef up its already pretty generous dividend, that do you feel that you have to?

MCNEALY: I don't feel that we have to right now. There is obviously some good things we can do with our cash. We are making small acquisitions these days that I think are very valuable. The market values are much more reasonable these days than they have been historically. We can do stock repurchases as a way of generating that can without the current tax implications. So I think we will continue to, you know, evaluate that longer term. But right now our strategy is I think pretty solid.

CAVUTO: One could interpret Microsoft offering a dividend is that it feels it obviously has its legal problems behind it and has that ample cash for - you alluded to at the outset, to go ahead and tap. Are its legal problems behind it? Do you think Microsoft is done and clear from any legal threats from you or others?.

MCNEALY: You know, I can't speak about other legal threats but we obviously have a ongoing case that we just got granted a preliminary injunction to force Microsoft to level the playing field with .NET and Windows XP and provide a Java version machine and a Java must-carry maneuver that we think is a huge win for consumers and developers and opens up the total available market for Sun and our competitors to compete in the Microsoft environment.

CAVUTO: But you also need, in your direct business - you need businesses feeling confident enough to buy the kind of things that you offer, and that seems to still be in doubt. Do you think that we are in for another rocky year?

MCNEALY: My training has taught me that there is not an economist in the world who knows, so that is one set of issues. The other issue is what is the demand for network computing equipment? And we are clearly pretty flushed with equipment out there, and it is definitely a buyer's market. I think we are in a good business. We just are kind of on the back side of some pretty, pretty strong and incredibly powerful bubbles that - or the size of bubbles we have never seen before, which is the size of strength in the economy and in some ways. But clearly we will just have to work through all of this stuff. And I just don't know how long it's going to take.


CAVUTO: All right, Scott McNealy.

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