SAN FRANCISCO -- Scott McNealy, the often acerbic cofounder of Sun Microsystems Inc. and one of Microsoft Corp.'s harshest critics, stepped down as chief executive after 22 years yesterday as the pioneering maker of computer servers reported its latest quarterly loss.
Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's president, will retain that job and take over as CEO, while McNealy will remain chairman of the Santa Clara-based company.
Sun's shares surged more than 8 percent on the news.
McNealy, 51, cofounded Sun in 1982, developing it into a scrappy Silicon Valley start-up whose high-powered computers, called workstations, became a staple with engineers and businesses.
In 1996, after Microsoft began encroaching on Sun's territory, McNealy reinvented the company to make servers, which performed for a fraction of the cost the tasks mainframes did.
Yesterday, Sun posted a fiscal third-quarter loss of $217 million, or 6 cents a share, compared with $28 million, or 1 cent, in the same period last year.