At the same time, some users are painting Sun with the same proprietary brush they say applies to Microsoft and its products. An IT manager, who asked not to be named, said he could not understand why a user would trade one proprietary desktop for another. "I personally keep Java off my computer because it crashes the system," he said. "If Sun had the interests of the customer in mind, then the Sun desktop would be written in C and donated to Linux. Sun is no better than Microsoft."A recent report from NPD Group Inc., of Port Washington, N.Y., said unit sales of notebooks jumped 31 percent in the United States during the first nine months of this year compared with the same period a year ago. Desktop PC sales fell by 1 percent over the same period. Schwartz is upbeat about the potential for Suns product in the mass consumer market. The long-run evolution of the Internet is most likely to be driven by consumers, many of them young, and that gives Sun another "bite of the apple" in the next wave of PC client adoptions, Schwartz said. But ARS Bhavnani disagreed, saying price is just one of many criteria for consumers and that the youth market is very particular about the products it buys. "I think that Wal-Mart will test the waters with a known brand, like Windows, rather than an unknown Java or Lindows operating system," Bhavnani said. "Even if Sun does score a deal with Wal-Mart, it would be big for Sun, but ultimately I dont think it would have any real effect on Microsoft and its dominance in the desktop market," he said. Discuss This in the eWEEK Forum
Nevertheless, Sun is moving forward, according to Schwartz, and is in talks with Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Intel Corp. about running Java on the companies respective architectures. Sun has "been having that discussion with Intel and AMD because we would need to cooperate with both of them to hit price points that were really compelling," he said.