February 15, 2012 / 5:01 AM / 6 years ago

Ex-Sun CEO eyes comeback with healthcare startup

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Jonathan Schwartz, the former Sun Microsystems CEO who departed after Oracle Corp bought the server systems maker in 2010, is mounting a comeback with a social media startup that promises to make caring for sick loved ones easier.

Schwartz latched onto the idea after he realized that caring for four parents over 80 and a chronically ill child was becoming unwieldy. He formed his company, CareZone, with co-founder Walter Smith to allow people like himself to set up a complete private Internet database of everything from prescription details to images and medical records.

"I've got two children and between my wife and me, we have five parents, four of whom are over 80 and one of whom has pretty serious chronic issues," Schwartz said in an interview.

"When my first child was born a little over 10 years ago, he had a chronic health problem and my wife and I faced lots of complicated stuff. Life is complicated, and we had to figure out first and foremost where do we keep all this stuff that's arising."

At a time when the technology landscape is dominated by buzz surrounding social media, Schwartz said, CareZone's selling point would be its uncompromising attitude toward privacy.

It would have to be completely private -- available only to the account creator and anyone else granted access, say care-givers or close relatives. The business would also be advertising free, unlike Google Health, Schwartz said.

"With the social media business, privacy is toxic to revenue, which is why they spend so much of their time fighting privacy legislation," he said. "But the last place you're going to go put private family information is in a business that's trying to figure out how to package your information and sell it."

CareZone's launch has been in the works since shortly after Schwartz left the executive suites of Oracle and Sun, where he had spent 13 years rising through the ranks.

In 2010, half a year after leaving Oracle, Schwartz surprised observers by founding Picture of Health -- a health IT company without a defined product -- instead of pursuing a high-level management position.

At the time, Schwartz said he was motivated to start a healthcare-related company for personal reasons.

During his time at Sun, Schwartz gained a reputation as an ambitious executive who blogged freely, wore his hair in a ponytail and embraced the unorthodox.

Following Sun's merger with Larry Ellison's Oracle, Schwartz famously chose to announce his resignation with a haiku on Twitter: "Financial crisis/Stalled too many customers/CEO no more."

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