Chief execs urged to get blogging

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Chief execs urged to get blogging

Regulations last hurdle for transparency onslaught, says Sun chief Jonathan
Schwartz.

All major companies will have blogging chief executives within the next five years, according to Sun Microsystems' chief Jonathan Schwartz.

Schwartz is one of the few executives of a public company who maintains a blog, insisting that Sun is "ahead of the curve".

"Every company five years from now is going to have most of their CEOs blogging. It's just a way to communicate with the marketplace," Schwartz said at a meeting with reporters on Friday.

The way in which public companies disclose information is subject to the so-called "widespread dissemination" requirements laid down by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The rules require information to be made available to a broad audience, but do not define the exact methods of doing so.

The SEC questioned Sun last year about its use of blogs. Sun's general counsel is meeting with the SEC this week to explain its use of the medium, as well as the traffic that Schwartz's blog attracts.

Blogs are more than just another PR tool, according to Schwartz, who cited the case of a complaint by Wordpress founder Matt Mullenweg about Sun's unresponsive sales programme for start-ups. 

Schwartz responded to the complaint with a public apology published on his blog. 

"Everybody at Sun felt bad. He had 900 phone calls from people at Sun trying to help him. [Sun's blog posting] just put a human face on Sun," said Schwartz.

In another case, a blog posting from Sun's lead counsel, Mike Dillon, on open source started a conversation that allowed the vendor to establish a new relationship.

However, Schwartz argued that many older executives are still at an early stage of computer literacy and require more time to understand the blogging phenomenon.

"The last executive who had his secretary print out all his emails retired six months ago," he said.
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