Sun quietly rolled out Sun One a couple of weeks ago. The Sun Open Net Environment comprises Suns software products, professional services, education practice and at least some marketing. In concept, its similar to Microsofts .Net.
There was little fanfare, though, perhaps because the official launch of Sun ONE occurred after a series of unofficial launches earlier in the year. Or maybe its because the launch occurred precisely one day before Microsoft launched Windows XP. More likely, its because there are inherent differences in Suns and Microsofts approaches to Web services. To wit:
• Sun rolls products out to its customers. Microsoft rolls them out to the world. Sun chose to launch Sun ONE at a small, customer-focused event. Microsoft discusses .Net everywhere. This could show that Sun is more focused than Microsoft, or it could show that Microsoft believes every person on the planet needs to be aware of .Net at all times.
• Sun gives out developer editions of its heavy-duty software for free. At the Sun ONE launch, Sun introduced the Sun ONE starter kit, a package of enterprise-level applications that will be available free to attendees at any Sun-sponsored show. (Its $19.95 if you order the CD.) Microsoft gives away software, but usually developers have to pay for the entire suite through a subscription to MSDN.
• Sun focuses on Microsoft; Microsoft focuses on the future. Suns chip-on-the-shoulder marketing approach will rally only a few other chip-on-the-shoulder developers. Sun should take the high road during public launches.
• Sun is unclear on how to deal with standards, especially those proposed by Microsoft. It takes longer for Sun to adopt many critical standards. Microsoft uses them all to its advantage.
• Suns development efforts equal 100 percent Java. Java has a great following, but enterprises still have developers who do other things. Further, Sun is talking about JAX as if it exists, but where is the code? Microsoft is pushing code out the door.
From my perspective, Sun ONE is coming together nicely but at a slower, more focused pace than .Net. This suits Suns main customers extremely well, but theres a huge crowd of potential Java developers who know nothing of it.