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Twitter's First Resignation By Tweet - Jonathan Schwartz Exits Sun

The first tweet from outer space was recorded on January 22. The first doctor to tweet during surgery happened at the Children's Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. A landmark tweet against impostors was issued in a tweet by the British High Court in October, 2009. And as another first for the microblogging platform, Jonathan Schwartz, the chief executive of Sun Microsystems became the first Fortune 200 boss to tweet his resignation.

Jonathan SchwartzJonathan SchwartzHe might have considered a literary reference to sign off with the company, e.g. instead of Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises," he could have tweeted " The Sun Also Sets."  He could have taken the "low road" by just telling Oracle (the company that bought Sun) to "tweet off."

But instead he chose the following 140 characters to alert Oracle's Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison of his departure.



The resignation was prompted by the acquisition but the economy also played a major role. Sun struggled to post consistent results and its sales continued to decline in the last year. The recession only exacerbated matters, as Sun depended on sales from many of the financial companies that were pummeled by the downturn. I.B.M. moved to acquire Sun, only to have negotiations stall, opening the door for Oracle.

It was a known fact that Larry Ellison was not especially fond of Mr. Schwartz, so apparently Jonathan decided that a preemptive strike was the grand gesture he needed to get his point across. Airing dirty laundry when one is foreced to resign is the oldest tactic in the corporate handbook. But doing it so the whole Twitterverse can see is quite another thing.

Perhaps if Schwartz really wanted to "zing" Ellison, he could have 'retweeted' the following tweet sent off by Oleg Novikov the day before his resignation that paints Ellison as a record-keeper of dubious distinction.



According to a NY Times, report, Schwartz was fond of using the Internet as a soapbox. At Sun, he became the first chief executive of a major company to put up his own blog. Mr. Schwartz also pushed the Securities and Exchange Commission to put blogs on equal footing with press releases and filings when it came to disclosing critical business matters to investors. So tweeting his resignation seem to just follow suit.

As for what’s next, Mr. Schwartz said in an e-mail: “In the short run, I’m planning to spend some long overdue time with my family. Longer run, with a few million businesses and a few billion consumers on the Web, rumor has it there are some interesting opportunities to be had.”

So what will be the next Twitter first. Perhaps an alien tweet?