Sun Desktop Shines on Wal-Mart with Discount Boxes

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-03-30 Print this article Print

Sun's Java Desktop System operating system can now be found on the shelves of Wal-Mart stores. According to execs, this low-cost bundle is just the next step in its plan to find new audiences for Java and its desktop platform.

MENLO PARK, Calif.—Sun Microsystems Inc. got its wish: Its Microsoft Windows alternative Java Desktop System is now available preloaded, on Microtel Computer Systems Inc. hardware, and available for sale at discount retailer Wal-Mart. "We now have an active relationship with Microtel," Jonathan Schwartz, the executive vice president of Suns software group, told reporters at a software day at its campus here. "Sun is a technology provider, and our Java Desktop System is now preloaded on Microtel hardware and available for sale at Wal-Mart for under $300 a system. The Microtel SYSWM8001 PC, with an AMD [Advanced Micro Devices Inc.] Duron 1.6GHz chip and no floppy drive, can be bought for $298 from Wal-Mart now," he said.
eWEEK last December first reported that Sun was negotiating with major retailers Wal-Mart and Office Depot to include its Java Desktop System on consumer PCs and laptops.
Schwartz said on Tuesday that "we are seriously considering Wal-Mart now to be the PC supplier for Sun Microsystems. We also have some 500 pilots of our Java Desktop System and the Java Enterprise System now running across the world, and North America is the most cynical market when it comes to looking at Microsoft alternatives. "We are making a lot more gains overseas, in places like Asia and South America," he said. Sun currently has some 160,000 Java Enterprise System users, employees and companies cumulatively, at $100 per user, under a three-year contract with unlimited rights to use it, he said. "Remember that Microsoft has some $70 billion in financial assets and has used this balance sheet to help drive corporate IT decisions in their favor," Schwartz said, adding that procurement officers now love Sun Microsystems as they get unlimited use per employee for $100 each. "They are now asking competing vendors what they are going to do for them to match or beat that," he said. Next page: "Java is everywhere."

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


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel