Dear John

UPDATE: In addition to listening to Greg and Gillmor chat, I see that the
Supernova panels
are now available. Kevin, a pleasure as always…


Dear John,

Thanks for your open letter. As you know, I’m a big believer in open letters. Sent a few myself, even.

To the point of your note, we do care. A ton. We’re driving as hard as we can to create appealing offers for enterprises, and individuals. Developers aren’t a passing fancy, they’re our lifeblood.

And it’s not just the product folks driving hard to earn your business, it’s our finance team, our legal team, and our folks in IT, too. But for all their best efforts, only the product folks have the option of starting with a truly blank sheet of paper. The rest of our team often has to drive our future by extending our past.

So, you want to really know why we started out by saying developers could get an Ultra 20, fully loaded with Solaris, and the entirety of our Java developer platform and runtime infrastructure for $29.95/mos – and get the hardware for FREE? And then went ahead and implemented it at $360/yr when you got around to entering a credit card?

Because our internal ERP systems were implemented at a point in time where no one could imagine a Sun product with a monthly price vs. an annual price (and the folks who could fix it were a buried by other priorities). So it’s a hack. Please blame me for rushing to market.

(And if you really want to know the truth, we intended to introduce the Ultra 20 as the world’s best developer platform for $1/day, less than most (west coast) geeks pay for Peet’s – but we didn’t want to tip them off we were going after their customer base).

So please bear with us. Message heard. Thanks for your participation. The good news is you can still get the system for free – and if you don’t like it, we’ll send someone to pick it up. Find any other vendor willing to do that to appeal to a developer. (And lest we receive more open letters, we know that’s US only for now, we know, we know…).

Thanks, again. I assure you, we are listening.


ps. And although they’re technically unrelated, I’m sure Greg would be very pleased you’re running SETI@Home. He and Steve chat here, and he’s got some great thoughts on the Grokster decision, here.

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