"There is also a big digital divide between the western parts of China and the eastern parts, which include Beijing and Shanghai, which is a lot more technology savvy than on the west," he said. The Chinese government itself has a large initiative to bridge that divide by building up infrastructure and delivering Linux-based solutions to many of its citizens, Sasaki said, adding that the good news for Sun is that it will now work with the Chinese government to deliver an open, standards-based desktop environment."But we do have a typical volume pricing deal that is structured, and there are some significant numbers in that agreement. The key thing about this partnership is that they will also have a significant number of engineers to add value to the project for the Chinese market specifically. Its not just about them shipping our code as is, but we are partnering with them to add more value to the entire stack," he said. Suns Schwartz said last week that "per citizen" pricing could see the price of that desktop solution plummet as low as $10 a user, depending on the volume. "Those places with structural impediments to spending large amounts of money on IT are the target market and offer a huge opportunity for Sun," he said. Sun will be holding a press conference in Beijing the last week of November with officials from the two Chinese ministries as well as with ones from China Standard Software, Sasaki said.
Microsoft is also vying with Sun and others for lucrative foreign government contracts. In February, the Chinese government signed up for Microsofts recently announced Government Security Program, which gives it access to Windows source code and prescriptive guidance on security assurance. China joined the U.K., Russia and NATO as the first participants in the program.
But that initiative did not stop Microsoft from losing a lucrative desktop replacement deal with the city of Munich to IBM and SuSE Linux in May.
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Sasaki declined to give specific details of the agreement between Sun and the Chinese governmental agencies, but he did say it "is a revenue generating opportunity for Sun. It is not a giveaway, it is for revenue, but I cannot tell you the price as this is confidential.