Sun Challenges Microsoft Prices

Sun offers to cut by half the cost of any Microsoft Software Assurance licensing agreement for the desktop.

Sun Microsystems Inc. threw down the price gauntlet to Microsoft Corp. customers on Wednesday, offering to cut by half the cost of any Microsoft Software Assurance licensing agreement for the desktop.

"Whatever license Microsoft has presented to a customer, we believe we will be able to offer half off with our equivalent desktop solution in software.

"So, any customer in the middle of negotiating a Software Assurance contract should feel free to contact me and I will be happy to put them in touch with our sales team, who will deliver a competitive bid that is 50 percent of whatever Microsoft offers," Jonathan Schwartz, Suns executive vice president of software, told eWEEK in an interview Wednesday.

While the offer is largely limited to the desktop, Sun is also willing to discuss some server-side components, like Exchange, he said.

But Schwartz admitted that Suns desktop offering only appeals to a subset of Microsofts Windows desktop customers. "If youre an investment bank bound to Microsoft Excel, our offering is probably not compelling.

"But if you are a manufacturing facility that employs 3,000 workers who infrequently interact with a computer and only need to look at documents sent in Microsoft Word and budgets sent in Microsoft Excel and management presentations sent in Microsoft PowerPoint, or a Web page available through Internet Explorer, we have equivalents available to all of those components," Schwartz said.

While demand for its desktop solution might not come from traditional large enterprises, many Asian nations and government agencies seeking an alternative to Microsoft will find the cost benefits of its offering compelling, he added.

As expected, Schwartz on Wednesday also gave more details around Suns new Project Orion software strategy—an ambitious plan to build all its Sun ONE software components into its Solaris operating system.