Sun to Buy Tarantella

The last remnant of the original SCO is being bought up by Sun to boost its thin-client desktops.

Sun Microsystems Inc. announced Tuesday that it is purchasing thin-client software company Tarantella Inc.

It will be a cash purchase of $0.90 per share, or approximately $25 million in the aggregate, and assumption of employee stock options.

Tarantella started business as a wholly owned subsidiary of The Santa Cruz Operation Inc. SCO, a major Unix on Intel company, was co-founded in 1979 by Doug Michels and his father and went public in 1993.

After SCO sold its Unix operations to Caldera Inc. in April 2001, SCO changed its name to Tarantella that May. In turn, Caldera elected to turn its back on its Linux business, switching its focus to Unix and litigation, and became The SCO Group Inc. in 2002. Michels became CEO of Tarantella, but resigned from this post in 2003.

In its past, Tarantella competed directly with Citrix Systems Inc. in the thin-client desktop application business.

More recently, the company has focused on SOAs (service-oriented architectures) and enabling server applications to integrate with desktops. Tarantellas flagship program, Secure Global Desktop, provides APIs to provide secure access to server-based applications running on Linux, Unix, Windows, mainframe and midrange systems from a wide variety of client platforms and devices.

Tarantella had long been a Sun partner prior to the upcoming acquisition. Sun was already selling Tarantella products and services that enabled users to integrate server-based applications into the Sun ONE portal.

"The goal is to integrate this into Solaris and make it the most complete interoperability platform and a foundation for building out desktop environments as a utility," said John Loiacono, Sun executive vice president of software, during a Tuesday conference call.

This, Loiacono explained, fits into Suns plans of placing applications on servers while enabling users to use Suns Sun Ray thin-client desktops.

This follows in the path Tarantella was already blazing with Sun.

Earlier, during the release of Solaris 10, Tarantellas CEO Frank Wilde said, "We have already announced support for our upcoming Secure Global Desktop Enterprise Edition 4 software on the Solaris 10 OS.

"Solaris on SPARC processor-based systems are an extremely important target platform for Tarantella, as a significant percentage of our installed base runs on Sun infrastructure," said Wilde.

Tarantella also has a line of Windows to Unix integration products, Vision2K. These include a terminal emulator, an X Window server, and Unix file and print services for Windows PCs.

Suns purchase is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and the approval of Tarantellas shareholders. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of Suns fiscal year 2006, that is, the fall of 2005.


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