Support from Partners
In order to show support from partners and to demonstrate how the technologies created by Microsoft and Sun would be moved into the customer realm, McNealy invited Charlie Feld, the executive vice president of portfolio management at EDS to the stage. Feld said EDS has hundreds of servers and millions of devices connected all over the world, which are hampered by the complexity built into its 40-year-old IT environment.Everything needed to be simplified, modified and made less complex, Feld said, adding that multi-lateral agreements between companies like Microsoft and Sun "takes us forward in a profound way. The IT world will mature as we continue to work together," he said. Asked about moving customers off legacy mainframes to the new Microsoft and Sun solutions, Felt said the problem is that money had to be freed up to move users off complex and aging platforms to these new and exciting ones. To read more about mainframes, click here. Don Rippert, the chief technology officer at Accenture, said he is excited about the latest announcements, pointing to the fact that Accenture has already had to work on creating interoperability between the Sun and Microsoft platforms at a grocery chain, bank, and government agency in Europe. "That was really hard to do until this alliance. The more this cooperative venture can remove barriers, the more we can do for clients," he said. Asked what he would like to see in the next round of technological work between Sun and Microsoft, he said that while he applauds their commitment to work through Web standards, the systems management scenario needs to be the next area of focus. In conclusion, Ballmer said he wanted to stress that there is a lot more work to do in the labs, and that there are more underpinnings to be done with regard to the Web service specs. "We get pushed on by every CIO and CEO about how hard it is to integrate systems together. So, the work that we need to do around Java and .Net is very important," he said, adding that there is also a lot more to do in the marketplace. For his part, McNealy concluded that "I have not yet met a customer, and I have met thousands, who is not absolutely thrilled by what we are doing." In a question-and-answer session, asked what some of the early difficulties were, Ballmer said there had not been a lot of contact between staff at the two firms previously and that the "folks from both sides had to get to know one another and talk a common language. But, at some point, I had to tell them to stop getting to know one another and start making something happen," he said. Asked if licensing payments were being made to and from both companies, McNealy said Sun had just licensed Microsofts Remote Display Protocol, and said that licensing, certifications and payments were flowing in both directions. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in Web services.
"Getting to work now in this open and interoperable world is very exciting. We are entering a new era now where interoperability will reverse 40 years of IT and allow us to focus on the supply change and customer," he said.