Suns Scheme for Desktop Domination

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-12-03

Suns Scheme for Desktop Domination

Sun Microsystems Inc. on Wednesday will announce a partnership with Electronic Data Systems Corp., in which the Plano, Texas, IT outsourcing firm will provide migration services, training, help-desk and call center desktop services for Suns Java Desktop System.

Read eWEEKs review of Suns Java Desktop System.

Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president of software at Sun, in Santa Clara, Calif., will also use the companys fourth-quarter network computing press conference at the Clift Hotel in San Francisco on Wednesday to announce the early access program for Project Rave—renamed Java Studio Creator—Suns competitor to Microsoft Corp.s Visual Studio .Net product.

In an interview with eWEEK ahead of the conference, Schwartz said EDS is the largest service provider for Microsoft desktops and manages more Microsoft desktops than anyone else in the industry, including IBM.

"That puts in our camp the leading Microsoft supporter. Combine that with our recently announced Java Desktop System deal with the Chinese government, which will be one of the biggest desktop deals ever done, and it becomes clear that we have established ourselves as a leading desktop provider and, curiously, Linux provider," Schwartz said.

EDS is a global company and, as the appetite for an alternative to Microsoft technologies varies by geography, both companies will be able to respond to demand for that in regions other than North America, which is "probably the least interested," Schwartz said.

"Theres a combination of selling that both Sun and EDS will have to do, but theres also a great amount of demand fulfillment that we can now collectively engage in," he said. That will most likely start with academic institutions, government agencies and transaction workers in bank branches, retail outlets, reservationists and call centers, he said.

Sun likely wont push its Java Desktop System to the boardroom, executive suites or Wall Street, which has no appetite for this type of change and the cost-savings that could come with it, he said.

Next page: Suns Java Studio Creator.

Page Two

Turning to the new Java Studio Creator product, Schwartz said it is targeted at less sophisticated developers who want to build principally Web-based service applications. "It builds on top of the momentum weve had around NetBeans.

"Until now the competition on the Java side in the marketplace has been between Eclipse and NetBeans, with Eclipse having an early lead but NetBeans now starting to pull into its own. Now, as we add Project Rave on top of that, we will finally be back in a position of controlling our destiny on the tools side," Schwartz said.

Sun also sees a strong link between tools and the desktop as many developers write code on their laptops and not on their handsets, servers or smartcards, he said.

Also on Wednesday, Sun will announce new performance numbers for its Solaris operating environment. Sun engineers have been working on the performance of one- and-two CPU systems for Solaris, Schwartz said, and basic networking has been improved anywhere from 25 percent to 50 percent.

"One of the biggest knocks against Solaris, against low-end Linux especially, has been performance. So we will be talking about some of the new features coming in the next release of Solaris in terms of both raw performance on basic networking as well as the introduction of black box diagnosability and traceability, so users can probe a running application and understand everything about it," he said.

Sun will also be taking aim at Hewlett-Packard Co. and its installed base, particularly given its focus on systems using Intel Itanium processors. Sun believes that, given the complexity of moving from a Xeon to an Itanium system, its Opteron-based systems will pick up the momentum.

"We intend to warn HPs installed customer base that they are on a very risky trajectory and that we would like to give them a safe harbor and upgrade path," Schwartz said.

Discuss This in the eWEEK Forum

Read what Suns Schwartz has to say about Longhorn.

Rocket Fuel