Are You Serious? (Sun Partnering with Microsoft)

Last week, we signed a deal with Microsoft. Remain calm.

The good news is everyone paid attention. The bad news is it spawned a lot of questions – which I thought I’d answer here.

The announcement was this: Microsoft will be supporting Project Virginia, Sun’s soon-to-be-announced hypervisor platform – meaning we can consolidate and manage Windows (alongside Linux and Solaris). Secondly, Sun will support Windows virtualization – allowing Windows to do the same for Solaris. And finally, Sun agreed to package and support (or ‘OEM’) Windows for customers and partners that want to buy direct from Sun.

A few folks have suggested this announcement (reminiscent of a change in our ticker symbol) represents a dramatic shift in our strategy, and that my statue will thus never grace the marbled lobby of the Free Software Foundation. The former’s obviously not the case (the latter may be), so I figured I’d offer a little more background.

First, as recently as two years ago, Sun was a non-player in the x64 server space. Customers that wanted to run Solaris on non-Sun hardware couldn’t, and those that wanted to buy x64 systems from Sun couldn’t. Partners couldn’t sell either solution, and when the industry rankings were published, we kept showing up in the “UNIX” or “proprietary” categories (ridiculous monikers, both).

We knew we wanted Solaris and our Systems business to grow beyond their own boundaries – we wanted customers to buy Systems from us, even if they weren’t running Solaris; and for them to buy Solaris, even if they weren’t running it on a Sun System. (If you think about both businesses as intersecting sets in a Venn diagram, the best way to grow the intersection isn’t to jam the businesses together, it’s to grow the sets.) Day 1, everyone wanted to know, “Are you guys serious?” – that question was our number one impediment to selling.

Now, we started our x64 relationship with AMD – optimizing our software and systems to scream on their Opteron platform. But rather than taking on the planet, we focused our efforts on customers and markets where we could bring our engineering and design prowess to bear – mission critical, scaled computing. We didn’t touch tower servers, we avoided focusing on dentist’s offices and corner shoe shops. We focused on systems like these, and customers like these. And we started winning deals. Big deals. Running Solaris and Linux, sure, but also Exchange, SQL Server and Microsoft’s IPTV stack.

As time progressed, we expanded our work to include Intel’s offerings, and similarly sharpened Solaris on our, and others’ Intel platforms. We fueled performance and started driving advances that grew the market for us and the community. Questions surrounding “But are you guys serious?” started falling away. We were serious. Deadly serious, and now everyone knew it.

In a world that lacked differentiation, we differentiated via design. Led by Andy Bechtolsheim and John Fowler’s team, we delivered measurably better performance, density, efficiency, along with better integrated management and serviceability. Our current lineup now completely integrates our SPARC and x64 systems and supply chains – so when you a blade system (as shown here) from us, for example, you can intermingle SPARC, AMD and Intel blades, manage them all identically, while running Linux, Solaris and Windows – under Project Virginia as well as VMWare’s offerings. We can serve 100% of the market (which is why we’re so focused – it’s easy to get distracted with a market this big). Like I said, our products focus on design innovation.

Net result? We’ve been moving up in both operating system and x64 server rankings. Every year, inch by inch, dollar by dollar, RU (rack unit) by RU. We’re now the fifth largest x64 vendor in the marketplace – with a billion dollar annual runrate (as of our last reported quarter). That’s quite a ways up from “invisible” two years ago. Solaris is on a similar tear (watchful analysts have even started tracking it separate from our hardware) – and that’s before we launch Virginia.

And although we’ve built a billion dollar annual runrate in the x64 business, we still hear objections – the biggest? “Your competition says you’re not serious about Windows.” Now of course, that’s just silly – SQL Server screams on products like our x4500. In fact, we’re the foundation behind one of the biggest Windows deployments in the US at AT&T (supporting their Microsoft IPTV rollout). We do a ton of business on Windows – with both hardware and software (by definition, most Java developers are on Windows, and it’s always been a part of our software focus).

But now it’s time to open ourselves up to the entire market, to take the last objections off the table. So we got together with Microsoft to ink a new relationship, through which two things will happen.

First, Microsoft will certify Windows running within Sun’s Project Virginia. Customers and partners looking to consolidate and virtualize Windows instances can safely do that under Sun’s offering. This is a big deal for us, and extends Sun’s reach beyond Linux and Solaris into the Windows domain. Secondly, we’ll reciprocate – and support Solaris via Windows virtualization. Customers have more choice – and to be clear, we are committed to doing everything (everything) at Sun in the free software community (even without a statue). This agreement does nothing to change that.

Second, Sun will OEM and support the Windows platform. We’ll be bundling our Java runtime environment, our tool chain, and our Java Enterprise System middleware (and the OpenOffice suite for good measure) in the Windows we distribute. So customers and partners can now buy directly from Sun. I’ve heard from a number of both since we signed this deal saying how excited they are – they can now consolidate a lot more business on Sun. That’s what we wanted. And our competitors have to take a slide out of their presentations (the one that says “Buy from us, because Sun isn’t serious about Windows.”).

So do I think this deal is good for Sun? Absolutely – it opens more opportunity, puts our past behind us, and gets everyone focused on Sun’s virtualization, Solaris and Sun’s Systems portfolio – independently. Does it signal a strategic shift inside of Sun? No – we can walk and chew gum at the same time. Running, virtualizing and supporting Windows opens doors.

So are we serious? About virtualizing Windows? About being a good OEM partner to Microsoft customers? About running Solaris on all volume hardware? About being a cross platform software company? A major force in datacenter design? The world’s largest corporate contributor to free software?

Why, yes.

Next question.

(And for those wondering why we didn’t talk about this at our analyst event a couple weeks ago, the deal wasn’t done – and random acts of messaging seldom help progress a relationship. Sometimes they do, but not this time around.)

(Update: wanted to add our latest Glassfish news…)


Filed under General

71 responses to “Are You Serious? (Sun Partnering with Microsoft)

  1. Kishor Gurtu

    And for a moment, I thought you had lost it.

  2. This is a great deal on many different levels for Sun. Congratulations. You were right in that, when you first hear about the deal it seems as if Sun are moving away from their position on free software.
    After reading your post, the reality is… the door has been opened for new user, consumers, developers and corporates.

  3. john lim

    way to go, jon! i am a Sun shareholder and so happy about it! thx.
    Sun now has the products to become the best, again!

  4. I can’t help think it is a bit self-righteous to claim to serve 100 % of the market by mentioning Windows, Linux and Solaris. What happened to other Unix OS as well as Apple’s Mac OS X which have recieved formal UNIX 03 certification?

  5. Sounds fine. I for one did not think the announcement was a concern – you don’t open source all your most valuable software assets and then change your mind (anyone considering that as an option ought to go look at Borland Interbase 😉 ).
    One thing though. Stop dropping Project Virginia hints and not tell us any more. Give us somewhere to sign up and hear something. Better still, tell us where to get signed into the beta programme! Even better, get someone to email me before I have to make the final call on our virtualisation platform.
    "CIO seeks VI alternative…" Brand new products line happily considered.

  6. Raghunath L

    Feels good but if you can get port of windows on to sparc then you have archived what you wanted.
    It will give customers a choice of reliable platform

  7. Whoa, that was a major surprise, a pleasant one (from your point of view) 🙂
    All the best.

  8. Peter

    In reaching out to new customers, I hope that you may enlighten them.
    N.B. I still want an Active Directory Master Controller on Solaris, PLEASE HELP TRIDGE WITH SAMBA 4.0.

  9. Mike

    What’s project Virginia? xVM on Solaris (aka Xen?)

  10. I Think its good Sun have partnered up with Microsoft, Its not healthty
    for microsoft to have such a huge slice of the computer world!

  11. It is good to see a 360 degree approach from Sun. Covering almost every aspect of garnering market share can sure bring back Sun into its glorious days. I have a great idea for Sun to leverage its Java brand and monetize the same. Will write about it sometime soon! However, like all those new generation enterprises driven by consumer demand, Sun must realize that it should have focus on consumer products too to be in the limelight and gain a greater mind share as brand. All the best in all the new deals Sun is entering into.

  12. Paulo

    Silly as it may sound, I want to congratulate you for everything you are doing for Sun.
    I’m not a shareholder, but even still, I believe that without you, Sun would Sink.
    You don’t seem to be a religious man (as in "the Open Source is Good Religion", the "Windows is Evil Religion", the "Microsoft is Bad Religion", etc), which is good. Instead, you seem to be a reasonable man, who wants to do business (which is why we need CEOs to begin with).
    Hats off, Mr. Schwartz.
    Paulo, from Brazil.
    (former Solaris sys-admin, former Java programmer).

  13. Tony Bivona

    What can I say Jonathan…Another feather in the cap…If you keep this up you will have a full tribal headset…Anybody can see that this is a huge win for Sun…Why do people keep on looking for the negatives in such positives…I am happy that I held on to my Sun stock (Java) all this time because with you at the helm, I can bank on the fact that it will come back in a huge way…Have an awesome day and keep on kicking butt one challenge at a time…

  14. Jonathan,
    This sounds like interesting news. I am curious to see how this deal interacts with the recently announced Cisco VMware Data Center Provisioning technology. I am also curious how this would affect licensing for OpenSolaris as there was much talk of GPLv3 recently on your blog.

  15. kosh

    > Customers that wanted to run Solaris on non-Sun hardware couldn’t.
    Jonathon, you still can’t install OpenSolaris on standard HP DL-series servers. Have a try yourself someday. A pity, since HP are the only other server vendor worth a damn.

  16. arc

    This is not a serious attitude and, NO, it doesn’t show leadership.
    Sun is a big company and it had the opportunity to bring more freedom to its users.
    Your past decisions were a good start in this direction but now you made an agreement with Microsoft that is an enemy of our freedom.
    So, how can we trust a company that promised freedom and then denied it after a few months?
    Are YOU serious?
    Should ALL the Free World boycott Sun and its products?
    Why, YES.
    Next company.

  17. "- and to be clear, we are committed to doing everything (everything) at Sun in the free software community (even without a statue)."
    This is an absolutely wonderful commitment to Free Software which no company can match. It gives us, the Free Software Community, great happiness when even companies who claim to be "Free Software Companies" does not want to make the software "they create" Free Software.
    Thank you Jonathan, Thank you Sun.

  18. OpenSolaris Community Member

    Hey Kosh, what are you trying to do – happy to help out, I run OpenSolaris on a ton of HP kit without any problem.

  19. rm

    That’s a pretty good one, Arc. I’m curious how many companies you know of that don’t use Windows somewhere. I suppose in some random microcosms the number is huge, but here on Earth it’s more like zero, give or take rounding error.
    How many of them that use Windows do you expect will have a sudden brainwave – hey, Sun won’t sell me Windows! Guess I’ll drop all my plans! Much more likely they’ll turn to another supplier. If they buy from Sun, Sun get’s a chance to show them what they *could* be doing in addition.
    If you run your business like a business, instead of a religion, you get a chance to make money and converts at the same time.

  20. lmf

    You need to do what you can to help Sun make money. If that means selling Windows, so be it.
    Free/open source software is something Sun does because it is profitable. It’s not something Sun does out of ideology. If Windows fits into the picture as well, then Sun has an obligation to sell Windows.
    I guess the most surprising thing about this post is that it exists at all. I don’t think it comes as much of a surprise to anyone in the know that there can be gains from cutting deals with your rivals.

  21. alex

    Sorry jonathan but i not agree with this type of decision.
    and i explain you why
    1) first of all microsoft and sun is a different company with different objectives Sun adopt unix and opensource software
    Microsoft philosophy is complete opposite to opensource.
    2) Sun have marvellous products and operative systems (opensolaris solaris x86) and is direct competitor microsoft os
    3) Sun microsystems have different strategies complete opposite to Microsoft
    Really sorry to say Jonathan but i don’t have same idea that of many
    person posted here.
    No i don’t find in this chosen something positive for Sun.
    No i don’t find something Intriguing in this chosen.

  22. Gumby

    You have not mentioned IBM at all.. It is still the Big Iron SOB!!
    I guess that you are hinting that by going skipping in hands with Microsoft, you together will finally whup IBM??
    Maybe you can tell me more about why it is still so hard to shove IBM off the mat… Yeah , I know about IBM’s unmatched army of globe trotting techs. It doesnt matter if you start making better stuff than IBM. It seems that IBM is still keeping abreast of everything everyone including you throw at IBM…
    I thought IBM would go down with DEC and other roadkills by now..By the way, I hope someone will rescue Lotus from IBM before it goes down..

  23. Larry Chen

    Sounds like a great start! Can’t wait until Sun announces support for Mac OS-X since I run it at home.

  24. Reddy Prasad

    jonathan what happen to you we are very serious. we don’t like to partner with microsoft. WE HATE MICROSOFT. They are money minders they don’t like open source. So please think!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. BobH

    Great news. Its all about choice, and that what I feel Sun is about. Giving customers choice in what they buy, giving choice by open sourcing software, driving standards (remember PCNFS for early versions of Windows) so we the user can choose the best product. Choice in Network computing is a good thing !!! Also, this is great place for Sun to take market share from its competitors !!!

  26. How does LDOM and XEN/xVM fit with Project Virginia? Is this Project a X64-only platform? I would be pleased to get some more infos on that topic.
    Greetings from rainy bavaria!

  27. Venky

    What a good move. This move, among a lot of other major initiatives shows that SUN doesnt want to live in its own shell but rather is moving out and reaching out new customers. The very move that Sun is willing to allow windows virtualization on its machine and make solaris run on other platforms is a sign that Sun is truly open. Many people in the past have criticized Sun to be proprietary and closed. But, we have now gone past that..

  28. Charles Darwin

    Smart move on the Windows part – a little delayed, perhaps, but nonetheless smart.
    What would be really great to see – Mac OSX on SPARC.
    Keep up the innovation (& evolution)!

  29. Peter

    Something worth mentioning for any corporate environment: SunRay’s now support 3D Graphics, yup all the existing SunRay’s no matter their vintage.
    Combine this with Sun now shipping Windows Server, a complete end to end corporate computing environment can be set up on Sun Hardware with an extremely competitive low power combination of servers and SunRay’s.

  30. Damian

    Interesting news, and I think a wise move on your part…
    So… does this change the stance your sales team presented during an RFP process to my organization this month — that Windows is not considered a legitimate production environment by Sun, and that you have no plans to support running your Portal software on it?

  31. tipaza

    good move.
    now the next big partnership: EMC
    partenering with EMC is the only clever move to have your customer adopt your next storage products (I’m thinking about FishWorks) make alliance with EMC and invite them to participate to the product development
    here’s what I can read internally to the company I’m working for:
    EMC – they continue to be the most competitive vendor.
    Their pricing is structured so that the more we spend the more we save.
    Hitachi – We are making good progress with the global program including clear and transparent pricing.
    They feel they are loosing out on opportunities, remember they are competitive
    NetApp are making progress on pricing and a global account manager is being assigned.
    We started to cover HP which prompted a discussion on when and in what circumstances we would use different vendors. Care needs to be taken that we don’t create too much diversity. X and Y to get together to discuss the game plan.
    The US are having problems with STK libraries. US are looking at both IBM and STK for their new US Datacentre, both vendors are looking to win the business and are aggressively looking to reduce their prices based on negotiations taking place in the US and Brazil.
    The same is true for switches and directors, Brocade and CISCO are engaged in a pricing war which is lowering the pricing.
    is Sun Storage a new Tape vendor?

  32. MakGeek

    Some people may be disappointed by the move but they’re just driven by their hate of MS. The reality is that the new team at SUN is fighting to serve the Open Source community and at the same time please their investors. It’s not that easy! Imagine that any client around the world can buy a box sporting Niagara 2 (64 threads on one single chip) and then install Solaris on it and which hosts Windows 2003. Linux runs natively – this means that there is no limit to the market share that SUN can grab on the server side these days. Why? because clients can’t refuse to buy their hardware on the ground that they cannot install the OS of their choice. Hey! I am here talking only about SPARC processor that used to be runnable ONLY on Solaris. SUN supports AMD and Intel meaning that the sky is the limit! The very fact that Windows and Linux can run on SPARC means that Sun’s Micro electronics division may become an industry of its own just selling chips to any company!!!!
    This is great Jonathan! keep on moving and don’t be distracted by the background noise!

  33. Hi Jonathan,
    It would still seem that you are struggling with the definition of who you are. Is Sun a hardware company, a systems company, a service company, or a technology company. I think the answer needs to be clear, and you need to focus the company on that answer.
    So looking at the Microsoft announcement:
    1. Hardware company = positive, you sell more hardware
    2. Systems company = positive, you sell more system solutions
    3. Service company = you can service a larger set of compannies
    4. Technology company = you hurt your image
    The problem from the very beginning of the the .com fall, was Sun lost it’s focus on being a
    great 1-3. Instead it kept thinking it was really a number 4, 4 had always saved Sun
    in the past. (NFS, TCP/IP, Solaris and Java). But, the truth is, Sun got lost in it’s own hype, it is a 1-3, it always has been. Ask anyone, they buy Sun for it’s systems. (Yea solaris runs on the gear, but trust me, its the gear) . Linux and open source just proved how little value Solaris really had in holding customers. What holds customers is the gear and the brand. So build great gear, and let the industry deal with all the solutions that can be make with great gear.
    HP, IBM, Dell all figured this out 10 years ago.. we at Sun, myself included lost sight of that, we bought the internet Java hype. Run with the market leaders and sell systems, sell solutions (that use everyones software, including Microsoft) and you will grow my stock value once again.
    Drop the technology bit….. sell with the winning team, stop trying to invent all the market winners inhouse. I still own lots of stock, and still run off Sun AMD gear!
    That said, why aren’t you all over VMware, again, are you going to ignore the market leader and let Dell/HP steal what’s left of the HA, DR market becasue someone inside Sun built a hypervisor? I can’t believe how slow Sun is at figuring out market winners and taking advantage of them.
    (Tell John F. I said hi)

  34. suhail

    Congratulations Mr.Jonathan.You are definitely going in right direction by offering your customers more choices.I think you should also partner with microsoft for running wss under your sparc hardware.

  35. John Mulrennan

    Congratulations from New Zealand on this initiative. It’s critical for SUN to continuing to evolve and adapt to the market place.
    As a long-time SUN customer I am in the process of migrating a broadcast critical application running an Oracle DB from SPARC to x64. I have hit a stumbling block, where the Oracle support for Solaris on x64 is not strong, i.e. patch releases at 3 months later than other OS, and forward CriticalPatchUpdates are not even scheduled.
    Curiously Larry Ellison has recently announced in a Business Week interview that Oracle has a strong future with Solaris x64 growth against Linux.
    Are you able to explain the porting strategy for Oracle on Solaris x64 ?
    If I’m forced to choose Linux on x64 due to better Oracle support, it will likely be the end of SUN products in this enterprise.
    Regards, John

  36. Shiv

    Good news indeed. Good interoperability with a desktop leader makes lot of sense.

  37. Feedback

    Apart from hardware, Sun’s greatest asset is technology. Innovation should continue at Sun which will be the best competitive advantage Sun has going forward and keeps competition way behind to catch up. I think, some more work is ahead for more java innovation (watch .NET space and ADBE technologies, these are all java’s share of market) and more storage (huge opportunities in NAS) and more virtualization technologies and needless to say solaris innovation is the key for future opportunities. Sun is well positioned in some of these areas.
    I am confident on sun’s future under your leadership!

  38. A.Customer

    good move to boost volume. However, ISV’s like SAP or Oracle clearly endorse Linux and Windows. Both support their customers to succeed on these platforms. SAP already does not release every new product on Solaris. Oracle also focuses on Linux. Both view Solaris as a proprietary UNIX.
    For the majority of customers it is about running applications not running Solaris.

  39. manish

    third class deal . If sun is that much capable than why can’t it did it alone??

  40. intel

    could we at least get the terms right? its x86 NOT x64

  41. suhail

    Congratulations Mr.Jonathan.You are definitely going in right direction by giving your customers more choices.

  42. ig

    "Customers have more choice – and to be clear, we are committed to doing everything (everything) at Sun in the free software community (even without a statue)."
    Ok Jonathan, suppose we believe you … now tell us: when will ZFS be released under the GPL so we can use it on Linux?

  43. keith

    Clearly Sun had to do this so the consulting division could get around the software division’s inability to support even the most mundane mainstream hardware.
    Solaris 11/06 -> 08/07, nine months of tech-time, 4 days fighting with the download server, and I still can’t install on my Dell.
    After 20 years it’s goodbye Sun, hello BSD.

  44. Vivek Sharma

    I am a big fan of Sun Server and would like to use Sun Hardware in my Office/Home too, so why doesn’t Sun also sell PCs/Laptops, as HP does.
    This may or may not give Sun a boost in the bottom line, but people will be definitely more aware of the Brand.
    And they will get a better product than the existing brands.
    If DELL can enter into server business, why can’t sun enter the PC/Laptop business.

  45. Nathan Dornbrook

    100% of the market?
    z/OS, TANDEM, VMS.

  46. Gilles

    So… will Sun ship Windows – in Europe – without Media Player bundled?

  47. Thommy M.

    "If DELL can enter into server business, why can’t sun enter the PC/Laptop business."
    For the same reason IBM sold their PC business to China perhaps? To little margin…

  48. Dakota

    Been able to support and intermingle various hardware and software platforms bodes well in these times. Sometimes it comes down to accepting the reality that organisations and people have varied tastes for varied reasons. Heck, if Sun can do a good job with it, why not? IBM does it.

  49. Feedback

    This is indeed a great move!
    There are some nice benefits to Sun for windows OEM’ing which others might not be seeing like
    1. Leverage on bundling the open source software (ofcourse, sun products) into the product.
    2. Sun can become a distributation channel partner to other third party software companies like google, yahoo, IBM … etc Its a win-win in this area.
    3. Sun and Microsoft benefits by this move are also a Win-Win to everyone including customers in many areas.
    4. Customers will really enjoy the good systems design from Sun like eco friends, Thumper, hopefully T2000 systems going forward etc…
    5. Cost saving for customers will be extremely high.
    I believe there can be more plus here… I just listed few.
    Of course, there can be some negative effects for every move but foreseeing and managing those risks will reduce/eliminate such risks.
    All the best!

  50. Not just a statue on its marbled lobby, the Free Software Foundation may have to install a floor with a clay stone for your footprint to adorn. What you have done is by far the most significant contribution anyone has ever made to Open Source.
    Microsoft sells for $400 what Open Source offers for free. An office suite.
    Microsoft is as much right as Open Source is on its pricing. A million copies of Office at $ 400 or tens of million copies at $ 40 or a few copies at $ 400 million each, Microsoft is right. It is right about its Proprietary policies, it is right about locking away its code in a vault. Just as right as Open Source, which broadcasts millions of lines of invaluable code for free, is.
    Microsoft has its business model just as Open Source has its own.
    Microsoft and Open Source are opposites. Sacred Knowledge says that Opposite forces are complementary. Creation happens by the union of opposites, the world exits by the balance of opposite forces. This point is almost often completely missed. So often there is disharmony between opposite forces.
    Where is the openness in Open Source if it insists on being closed in its own judgements and prejudices about Proprietory companies?
    What can come out a union between Open Source and Proprietary corporations? Plenty, plenty of good.
    I don’t have illusions that Microsoft is suddenly going to open up its code for open source to work on, but I do believe that beginning with this remarkable agreement between Sun and Microsoft, a larger door is now open for greater interactions that would at least clear the crucial bottlenecks in interoperability.
    I believe that the somewhat unhealthy animosity between Open Source and Proprietary entities would become a healthier competition with each side recognizing the differences yet agreeing to move on for the good of humanity in general …
    No, no, I am not a Microsoft fan, I am working on something that would take Microsoft head on….

  51. I can’t help think it is a bit self-righteous to claim to serve 100 % of the market by mentioning Windows, Linux and Solaris. What happened to other Unix OS as well as Apple’s Mac OS X which have recieved formal UNIX 03 certification?

  52. Dear Jonathan Schwartz,
    A Second comment, and if a picture could be posted…
    Part of all the resentment by the free software and open source community for Microsoft originates from a perception of Bill Gates, whose style of business included methods that probably hurt a few companies in the process. Microsoft was perhaps a bit aggressive in its early years of growth, to say the least.
    But here is another side of Enemy No 1, if that is how some people still percieve Micrtosoft and Bill Gates. I saw this picture in Time (?) sometime ago, it is a picture that haunted me, and I took over an hour to hunt for this image on the web, hoping that it was online and hoping that I could find it based on vague search terms that I coined on what I remembered of this article. Yes, it was on Time, the article was titled "From Riches to Rags" dated Monday, December 19, 2005.
    The picture is that of a dazed Bill and Melinda Gates during a visit to a slum on the outskirts of New Delhi. One of the places where some ofthe money is going.
    If an image can be posted in the comments page, this picture should be a worth a thousand words of reasoning as to why the free world should be a little more open about this Corporation, if personified by Bill Gates.
    Open Source is benevolent at source, Microsoft at destination.
    Something in common too, between the opposites.

  53. Microsoft

    Microsoft Office Rocks as its the most user-friendly and productive suite someone ever made.
    But, we are still open to something better…

  54. Andre

    Hi Jonathan,
    Would be nice to see the Looking Glass project on Windows desktops everywhere – the beta dates to almost a year back. This could be a major reworking with the StarOffice gui. Regards.

  55. jiivandeva

    Finally. I use both Windows and Solaris for the past few years now. Sun + Microsoft makes sense to me

  56. eric fluger

    the advantages of slick virtualization technology and the ability to host windows along with anything are pretty obvious in a sever consilidation context. perhaps less obvious is that it may also be quite valuable in a development environment.
    if you’re building software that must run on several platforms or run in a hetorgeneous environment, the ability to host serveral operating systems could be quite valuable, especially for testing. (throw in a network load simulator and you can mock up a hetergeneus environment on one machine.)
    i keep wondering if there are grounds for cooperation between sun and apple. there is some competition between the product lines and target markets, but IMHO more complimentarity between them.
    sun/solaris becoming the development platform of choice could be just the additional bit of honey reqired to draw apple into a deal.
    (this runs counter to the idea of sun doing it’s own PC, which also has merit.)

  57. eric fluger

    though admittedly not main topic here, the notion of a sun PC keeps coming up so thought i’d add my two cents:
    the reasons for not doing a sun PC are pretty obvious: very low margins and potentially high support costs. however, there may be arguments in favor.
    i think of a sun PC more as a promotional device with the potential to help overall profits than as a potentially profitable product in it’s own right. it’s an alternative to more (or more expensive) adverstizing. unlike a commercial on the super-bowl, a PC line could pay for itself and perhaps generate a small profit.
    as a promotional device a sun pc would provide one stop shopping for PCs, workstations, and servers comparable to HP’s and better than dell’s. it would get the sun logo into more places, including tiny business with the potential to become big businesses, and schools that are educating the volume purchasers of tomorrow.
    a sun pc could also be a promotional device for solaris if shipped with solaris and a full compliment of open source applicaton software by default.
    (it might make sense to use a price structure heavily biased toward volume purchasers.)
    also, adding some products at the low end might enhance flexibility in workstation pricing. if your cheapest workstation no longer needs to be your cheapest product you may be able to charge a bit more for it.
    product placement in tv, movies, and even commercials for the products of other firms can be very cost effective, but requires a product with a distict appearance. creating a sun pc would be an opportunity to create a product with a product-placement-friendly appearance as a secondary goal. (note that both ibm/lenovo and apple have been very effective in this area.)
    there are a couple of opportunities for product differentiation:
    1. sun has been a leader in energy efficiency in the server/workstaton market. there’s been a lot of chatter about green PCs and MODT but AFAIK no major vendor has stake out this area, which provides an opportunity for sun to take the lead here as well. so far most low power PCs have been terribly un-expandable, so a low power PC with slots of some kind would probabaly find a market.
    2. the sun voyager and the solbourne transportable workstation both had a very useful and easily recognized design. unfortunately they were also ahead of their time as the reqired components were exotic and expensive. things have changed. those formerly exotic compontents are now commonplace and afforadable. apple has demonstrated the market viability of the desktop pc with intergrated display. it may be time to revisit the voyager design.
    (the problem with all this is that there could be some value on a ccoperative relationship with apple and competing with them on their own turf is not likely to advance that.)

  58. eric fluger

    re gates foundation:
    all very noble, but there’s an alternative: use open source software and send the WHOLE licensing fee you didn’t pay (instead of a tiny percentage) to oxfam (or the NGO YOU choose) yourself. freedom of choice in both software and philanthropy. 🙂

  59. eric fluger

    jonathan mentioned above that sun has deliberately not made tower servers lately. proabably a good move, but it may be possible to service that market sans dedicated product. a couple of possiblites:
    1. revise the current workstation offerring so the can accept a lights out management card and can be ordered with one instead of a graphics card. (in the early 90’s it was pretty common to use sun workstations as small servers. there are probably some small shops doing it now. this would just make it a bit neater and lay out the welcome mat to small shops.)
    2. offer small rack mount cases suitable for small offices and satellite offices that will work with a specified subset of sun’s existing servers. there are some available, but right now customers have to go hunting for them. just make it easy.
    here’s one source (a potential OEM supplier?)
    a suitable enclosure should not only house the gear, but suppress noise of both audible and RF variety. a 12-14 RU rack with normal horizontal mounting and a 4-6 RU deskside rack for vertical mounting would probably do it. (servers, storage units, media changers, etc would need to be certified for use in these racks, especially for vertical mounting.) note that a deskside rack could have a tape drive bay on top and still have a reasonable height.
    the case thing seems like a relatively small investment and might appeal to large firms with a lot of small satellite offices.

  60. It seems Sun is in somewhat of an identity crisis, lately(changing the ticker, partnering with Microsoft, et cetera). What ever happened to the Sun of old? It used to be that Sun was synonymous with the Internet. Nowadays, what is Sun synonymous with? Before the "dot in dot com" stuff, even… They trumpet "participation", but I don’t see Sun participating much on the Internet. It almost seems that unless it’s "their" internet, network, they aren’t interested. Since, they’ll never own the Internet(nor will anyone else, thank God), they might as well ditch this strategy. Since the bane of Web 2.0 seems to be "social networking", I propose that Sun set aside a few million dollars(which isn’t much for a company like Sun) and develop, or even buy into social networking via the Internet. Thereby, this would help position Sun in the front of the collective psyche, and make Sun relevant, again, because right now, Sun ISN’T relevant. So, how about it, Jonathan? Are you game?

  61. ll

    It sounds good for markting.

  62. "If DELL can enter into server business, why can’t sun enter the PC/Laptop business."
    For the same reason IBM sold their PC business to China perhaps? To little margin…

  63. This is good news. Thank you.

  64. Boris

    Well done!
    Finally, you closed the circle. Maybe we would like to pretend that Microsoft does not exist, but that is, in business, crazy! With Microsoft on your roster, you can start overtaking customers who use Windows from Dell, IBM, HP and others!

  65. Pamela Danner

    Hi Jonathan,
    Thank you and keep up the good work! To everyone else… Let me tell you why I think Sun’s decision is smart. I worked for Sun for 7 years, the sadest day in my life was when I learned I was to be riffed. I loved Sun and I bled Sun purple. IMHO, Sun had the smartest people, the best technology and a capacity to understand where technology was going in the future. I thought it was a shame that "more people weren’t smart enough to see" why Sun was right. Fast forward three years… I now work for a major consulting company I see mostly IBM, Dell and HP in my customer’s Datacenters. Some DCs have some Sun boxes, but no one is exclusively Sun. I am sitting here typing this on a WYSE terminal re-sold by IBM. I know that Sunray’s would be a superior solution for this client and the client does too; but the thought of having to roll his own solution to support Windows applications or having to adopt Star Office was just "TOO REVOLUTIONARY" for this client. Working for my client’s Chief Security Officer, I sit in many of this client’s senior IT meetings. I am suprised as some of the things that this organization simply hasn’t grasped yet. SOA, Single Sign-on, Identity Management, Utility Computing, Service Level Management to name a few. There is a lot of opportunity to bring this particular client into the 21st century. Who is getting the lions share of the opportunity? IBM. Why? Because they are willing to be evolutionary not revolutionary. IBM GS appears to be quite agnostic when it comes to technology… all the while pushing their solutions. Now I’m not suggesting that Sun try to become IBM GS, been there, done that, got the T-Shirt, Literally! Jonathan is on track for what Sun needs to do; 1) Really work with everything. If a client wants to buy a Sun Box and run Windows on it, sell him windows! Preserve the relationship and be there to offer up Solaris as an "EVOLUTIONARY STEP" 2) Realize that no matter how insanely great Sun’s vision is — How many times did I use the words disruptive technology in 7 years …… The reality is that most CIO’s budgets are zero based these days and they can only move so fast 3) STOP TALKING ABOVE PEOPLES HEADS and let them know that you don’t have to "LEAP" into the future you can get there step by step. 4) Finally, While it is great that Sun is on the forefront things like Utility Computing, it is useless to a CIO if his costing model, Service Architecture, Audit Group and policies and procedures can’t support Utility Based Computing. Sun needs to support customers through the softer side of technology change.
    What guides me when I discuss technology today with my clients is a thought I had when I found out that Sears & Roebuck had been purchased by a Hedge fund. Imagine how different things would be for Sears is someone, anyone, could have impressed upon the senior executives that the e-commerce and the internet was simply the 21st century equivalent of the Sears wishbook and was willing to help Sears to develop a roadmap to evolve their technology?

  66. cowering

    Pamela, speaking of RIFs, the word is that we’ll be having one this week. Those of us who survive will definately be mourning the decision to jettison talented contributors who, for whatever reason, Sun (belives they) no longer has a need for. Until a high severity issue crops up, and we find that an entire team is GONE and we have no backline. Just a fact of life at Sun these days.

  67. JP

    Sun needs a new logo. The Sun Microsystems logo is too 90’s. THAT’S what ya need to do – and a commercial. Put a national spot. Before Xmas for that little data storage kid in all of us. But, please design a new logo. You have the coolest word for a logo in the world – and it’s spelled in Times Roman Italics. Get a silver, shiny expensive looking Sun logo with a new simple design.

  68. Andrew

    This article has been painful for me to read. I don’t feel like reading it twice today, even if it hasn’t really answered the initial question : are you serious ? For me, Sun is a company that provides a reliable computing platform. Like a colleague of mine always tells visitors : "In this room, we have Sun servers; Solaris is dependable and runs non-stop. In the next room, we have Wintel computers : they need constant baby-sitting and are a pain in the … when it comes to security".
    A cursory glance at the websites of all Unix vendors (Sun, IBM, SGI, HP, etc.) reveals that none of them can be profitable without selling Intel products. I guess that explains a lot about Sun’s newly found love for the Wintel outlaws. I respect that even though there is something I don’t understand : if Sun signed deals with AMD, Intel and now Microsoft, isn’t it because Microsoft doesn’t respect you enough to port their software to SPARC ?
    On the Java download page, you recommend as the office suite of choice. Now, your new motto should be : "Sun recommends Windows Vista for all your computing needs". That way, you’ll be able to mislead as many people as Dell. I better stop my post before bitterness overwhelms me.

  69. chris

    Good job, though I hate Microsoft as a company, the reality is that they own marketshare for enterprise software. I think Sun’s decision to accomadate and sell their products is a good one as it allows Sun to sell more hardware (and now software). It’s also a good java opportunity. Since the divisions within Sun need to justify themselves I don’t see any reason to gripe about this. Personally, I want Sun to survive as a company and not worry about being a torch bearer for software based religious beliefs. It seems that you’re doing a delicate balancing act by making sure you can sell your various products across the board and still be involved with the open source philosophical endeavor. This is a tough row to hoe but in the end this is a business and this new announcement only means you’ll sell more products. I also think that you have a reasonable committment to open source. For my own miniscule startup I own all Sun equipment. I run Windows on it because this where my expertise is based and my day job depends on that. I look forward to being able to buy the software as well from Sun. See? There’s more money coming your way already.

  70. Karim Durrani

    everything is fair in LOVE, War & IT

  71. What is SUN’s mobile strategy in relation to this partnership? the almost ubiquitous position of J2ME in the mobile space is a huge asset for the company to leverage. but how? will good things happen before Microsoft mobile catches up.

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