During his fourth visit to the Chinese capital, Scott McNealy, chief executive of Sun Microsystems, praised China for being economically active. He was visiting the mainland to donate US$2 billion in software for education and make another deal with Cadence. 'It is nice to come back and see the changes here in China,' he said. 'This is where the action is. I am always astonished at how things are changing here. Nothing is happening in Germany, the United States or Japan. We have about 1,000 Greater China employees here, and we are doing a lot of engineering, service and support. This is a place where we can add value.' Although most analysts say Sun is narrowly holding on to its lead in the Unix server market, IBM has come on strong, especially in the Greater China region. With IBM competing at the high end, and Intel-based servers running Linux or Microsoft Windows chipping away at the low end, Mr McNealy was defiant in the face of the competition and unwavering in his belief that Sun would remain the Unix platform of choice. 'We believe there will be many, many kinds of processors,' he said. 'There will be a long-term need for desktop processors that Intel is good at.' But he doubted whether Intel could succeed at the higher end or the data centre where Sun has been strong. 'We believe itanic will fail,' he said, pouring scorn on Intel's 64-bit processor, itanium. The chip has so far not performed well, and there have been rumours that Intel has a Plan B, code-named Yamhill, that will add 64-bit capabilities to the Pentium. Intel is also feeling pressure from AMD's imminent release of its 64-bit Opteron chip, which is due out next month. Mr McNealy had little good to say about Microsoft and its attempts to persuade the world that it is a leader in Web Services, an area of software that may become increasingly important but that has so far not quite delivered on the promise. He claimed Microsoft was far behind Sun. 'Web Services allow two elements to inter-operate without human intervention,' he said. 'What is the killer Web Service that would kill the Net if you turned it off? TCP/IP.' The Unix version of TCP/IP (transmission control protocol/Internet protocol) was written by Bill Joy, a co-founder of Sun, and it was shipped for free with every machine Sun sold, beginning in 1982. 'Bill Joy wrote the code and Sun helped popularise TCP/IP. Microsoft just began bundling it in 1998. We did it in 1982.' The entire Unix operating system was geared to Web Services, Mr McNealy said. 'Unix is nothing more than a Web Services delivery system,' he said. Microsoft, on the other hand, had achieved nothing of note in this area, he said. 'If you were to unplug any Microsoft Web Service, it would not affect the world.' Microsoft's recently launched Government Security Program, which allows certain governments to look at the source code for its operating system, only earned more scorn. 'Letting the government look at the source code is like going into a restaurant and being allowed to look at a cheeseburger but not being allowed to eat it,' he said. 'Microsoft is doing nothing innovative.' Mr McNealy said it was impossible for Microsoft to convince people that it was 'open'. 'Are their interfaces open? Microsoft has not opened any of theirs. We believe in open implementations, Microsoft does not. They hate openness,' he said. Sun, on the other hand, had made many contributions to the open source movement. 'Sun has donated eight million lines of code to the open source,' he said. The only time Mr McNealy seemed even close to being annoyed was when he was asked to comment on rumours that competitors, including IBM or Dell, had offered to buy Sun. 'We are spewing cash,' he said. 'We are the dominant 64-bit platform, and even though the post-bubble economy is difficult, Asia is going strong.' He also thought the going price for Sun, which has an US$11.4 billion market capitalisation, would be nothing less than US$20 billion, and claimed that neither Dell nor IBM could afford that now. Mr McNealy said Sun had just under US$7 billion cash on hand, but he would not predict earnings for the region or anywhere else. 'We don't predict revenues. We don't like giving out wrong information. If you want to get some wrong numbers, go and talk to the analysts,' he said. He was keen to talk about the recent announcement that Sun would be making quarterly declarations about software and hardware lines. 'Every other industry does this,' he said. 'In the automobile industry, nobody releases a new transmission, and several weeks later a new engine block. They release a complete car.'