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Sun denies reports that co-founder Bechtolsheim is leaving

The New York Times and BusinessWeek are reporting today that Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim is leaving the company (for a second time) to serve as chairman and chief development officer for a startup he funded. That company, Arista, will compete with Cisco in the 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE) and cloud computing markets. Former Cisco exec Jayshree Ullal has been recruited as Arista’s CEO.

Reached for comment, a Sun spokesperson sent the following statement today:

There have been a few inaccurate articles published regarding the status of Sun co-founder, Andy Bechtolsheim. Sun can confirm that Andy will remain with Sun to continue his present involvement with the Sun Systems group in helping to drive new product architectures, including X64 servers and storage servers, and will continue to work on key strategic initiatives such as HPC. Andy will move to part-time work status and spend the remainder of his time involved in the start-up community where he worked prior to re-joining Sun in 2004.

The Times story does note that “he said he would retain a part-time advisory role at the company. ‘It’s my baby…I will always be associated with Sun’.”

Regardless of the semantics about Bechtolsheim’s work status, the move is another blow to Sun among many recently, from declining earnings to the impairment of goodwill for its StorageTek acquisition.

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