Page Two

By eweek  |  Posted 2003-02-27 Print this article Print

eWEEK: Are you targeting the academic world because that seems like a space to get into early with the new developer set? Chuang: If you look at what weve done lately with our dev2dev, which is our developer community program, we are targeting three distinct types of developers and weve given them different types of support based on the cost model it can justify. We certainly have the corporate developers that subscribe to our program that pay a small nominal fee to subscribe to our program. They get all the software, support, chat rooms and resources in the dev2dev site, and they can also talk to a live person. Then you have the larger community of developers who are people growing up from desktop applications to enterprise applications. That has historically been the fastest growing and largest size developer community. Those are the people doing things from open source to building Microsoft-based software that can make money, but they dont want to pay a lot of money.
Then you have the academic world. So we have a very strong university program. Over the last couple of years it has worked out very well. We donate not only software but also time and education. They need classes, sponsorship, course material, internship programs. We have one of the industrys best internship programs. And the size of it is amazing for the size company we are. We have some of the best people who have created and groomed the Microsoft developer program.
These are things that are pure investment. Like we have a full product in the Java Virtual Machine space, but we cannot generate any revenue off of it. But those are the kinds of things that clearly cater to the development world and to making things ubiquitous. eWEEK: Tod Nielsen, your chief marketing officer, mentioned some numbers regarding your developer community and said youd be up to a million within a year of announcing it. Where do you stand now? Chuang: Very close. We are very close to that number. I think this will be the year that not only will we be expanding on the number itself, were also working on better defining the program and some measurements. Because I think these external numbers are also very good for our internal peoples motivation. Because if you want to grow leaps and bounds in the developer world, you cant just use conventional methodology, which is what we did in the past. We had a pretty good developer site and encouraged people to download—everybody have at it. Thats not good enough anymore. Thats why were changing some of our programs into the subscription-based program for one. So people can get full-blown software at a fixed price on a subscription basis, and they get every new thing that comes out of the company. And were funneling a lot of our partners software through the site. eWEEK: How viable do you think Sun is? Chuang: I am the wrong guy to ask that question because I have to have faith. First, I held onto all the stock that I own since the employee stock purchasing program in 1986. So I have to have faith. No. 2 is these people are my friends. I worked with them for 10 years. And Sun is an unusual company from this perspective. You cant think of them conventionally. Sun is a company that has done enormously more sprinkling of money into inventions than any other company of its size would do. And its cultural. Its a company that relies on very successful technology to spring from these inventions. So I would not count them out. Historically, they always have made this work. I dont think there was a time while I was at Sun that people did not doubt Suns existence, until the dot-coms came out and they became a household name. But for a long time this kind of discussion has gone on. They have so many smart people.


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