Sun Details How It Will Work with Fujitsu

The Advanced Products Line, which will combine the SPARC and Solaris systems, will be the "core product line" for both companies starting in 2006, officials say-although each is continuing with individual roadmaps for now.

Sun Microsystems Inc. officials endeavored on Thursday to provide a clearer picture of its SPARC/Solaris development deal with Fujitsu Ltd., saying that combining the companies roadmaps makes sense for the vendors and for their customers.

During a two-hour discussion with analysts and reporters, officials at the Santa Clara, Calif., company said its deal to partner with Fujitsu on developing a joint SPARC/Solaris line of systems may enable Sun to fast-forward plans to release systems based on its Rock processor, due to start appearing in systems a couple of years after the joint line is launched.

"By combining resources, we can, in fact, do it all," said Andy Ingram, vice president of marketing for Suns Scalable Systems Group. "Between the two companies, we can spend less and do more."

Sun and Fujitsu last month announced the partnership—a continuation of a 20-year relationship—which had been in the works for about a year. The deal calls for the companies to combine their development efforts and in 2006 release the first in a new line of SPARC/Solaris systems, called the Advanced Products Line, or APL.

The APL family, which would run the upcoming Solaris 10 operating system, would replace Suns Sun Fire products and Fujitsus PrimePower systems.

"APL is Suns product line, [and] APL is Fujitsus product line, starting in 2006," Ingram said. "This is our core product line."

/zimages/1/28571.gifTo read about Suns payment plans for UltraSPARC, click here.

For customers, the new line will mean improved price and performance, better technology and a stronger software ecosystem around the SPARC/Solaris platform, they said. For the companies, it will mean reduced spending, a platform that will continue to compete with the likes of Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM and Intel Corp.#151;and less so with itself—and the ability to bring key products to market faster.

Ingram said that given their product roadmaps, it made financial sense for the two companies to combine efforts. Industry observers have said the deal could save Sun as much as $500 million a year in chip and server development costs.

"We were building the exact same thing," he said. "We have Sun Fire, they have PrimePower. If you line them up, theyre exact replicas of each other."

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