The Future

By Rob Enderle  |  Posted 2004-04-02 Print this article Print

: Will Sun Rise or Set"> The Future: This should allow Sun products; both desktop and server, to better interoperate with Microsofts. Amazingly some Sun systems will actually now run Windows products. Sun might even become a part time Windows reseller. When it comes to the desktop, Sun will still have channel and brand. However, the company will be better positioned against HP and IBM, who both maintain Windows competencies along with UNIX and Linux. On the services side, Sun will still be at a disadvantage. . Both HP and IBM still have substantially larger and more capable, services organizations. However, it does return them to the table for multi-OS customers.
Interesting enough, this should actually reduce the need for services to integrate Sun and Windows platforms. That makes both platforms more attractive now. Over time I expect dramatically lower costs for mixed Sun/Microsoft environments, and much less finger pointing when problems arise.
For Microsoft this should reduce the anti-trust pressure and help them focus on building products, recovering their brand, and increasing loyalty. All the litigation has been a substantial distraction and was clearly further damaging Microsofts reputation and brand, not to mention creating serious legal and market exposures in Europe. Both companies did allude to the possibility that this is just the beginning of their relationship, and that greater cooperation will be coming. IBM is the historical enemy for Sun and IBMs own Linux efforts have turned them again into a threat for Microsoft. There is a good chance that IBM was used as a way to forge the alliance. I believe that this relationship will, over time, adversely impact IBMs efforts to displace Sun and Microsoft offerings with Linux. In the end, this feels like a case where both companies realized that their on-going fight was counter-strategic. Both realised that they had bigger threats than each other. And both came to the conclusion that each would be stronger as as partners than as enemies. However, it is often easier to say you forgive and forget than to actually forgive and forget. It will take a lot of work to move beyond all the bad blood between the two organizations. If the press call is any gauge--both both Steve Ballmer and Scott McNealy cooperated on the shared stage—clearly McNealy is focused on making this work. That alone means the competitive landscape has clearly changed. Rob Enderle is the principal analyst for the Enderle Group, a company specializing in emerging personal technology.

Rob Enderle Rob Enderle Enderle Group 389 Photinia Lane San Jose, CA 95127

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