Sun Challenges Microsoft Prices

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-02-26 Print this article Print

Sun offers to cut by half the cost of any Microsoft Software Assurance licensing agreement for the desktop.

Sun Microsystems Inc. threw down the price gauntlet to Microsoft Corp. customers on Wednesday, offering to cut by half the cost of any Microsoft Software Assurance licensing agreement for the desktop. "Whatever license Microsoft has presented to a customer, we believe we will be able to offer half off with our equivalent desktop solution in software. "So, any customer in the middle of negotiating a Software Assurance contract should feel free to contact me and I will be happy to put them in touch with our sales team, who will deliver a competitive bid that is 50 percent of whatever Microsoft offers," Jonathan Schwartz, Suns executive vice president of software, told eWEEK in an interview Wednesday.
While the offer is largely limited to the desktop, Sun is also willing to discuss some server-side components, like Exchange, he said.
But Schwartz admitted that Suns desktop offering only appeals to a subset of Microsofts Windows desktop customers. "If youre an investment bank bound to Microsoft Excel, our offering is probably not compelling. "But if you are a manufacturing facility that employs 3,000 workers who infrequently interact with a computer and only need to look at documents sent in Microsoft Word and budgets sent in Microsoft Excel and management presentations sent in Microsoft PowerPoint, or a Web page available through Internet Explorer, we have equivalents available to all of those components," Schwartz said. While demand for its desktop solution might not come from traditional large enterprises, many Asian nations and government agencies seeking an alternative to Microsoft will find the cost benefits of its offering compelling, he added. As expected, Schwartz on Wednesday also gave more details around Suns new Project Orion software strategy—an ambitious plan to build all its Sun ONE software components into its Solaris operating system.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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