Sun to Unveil Software to Replace Windows
Sep 16, 1:25 AM (ET)
By MATTHEW FORDAHL
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - In a move aimed squarely at
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW) on
Tuesday will unveil a suite of software for businesses
that want to dump - or just can't afford - the Windows
operating system on their companies' desktop computers.
The Sun Java Desktop system, which was formerly
code-named Mad Hatter, runs on the open-source Linux
operating system and includes a variety of programs that
replace Microsoft's Internet browser, productivity suite
and other parts of the Windows package.
Sun officials say its system will cost as little as $50
per user per year and can be installed on any computer
that can run Microsoft's Office 2000. The software also
is designed to interoperate with Windows-based programs
such as Exchange and Microsoft Office.
"We're talking about a radical savings - more than 75
percent over just the comparable upgrade cost for
Microsoft," said Larry Singer, Sun's senior vice
president of global mar ket strategies.
Sun, a leading maker of high-end, Unix-based servers,
has been struggling since the dot-com collapse to
bolster sales as systems based on inexpensive x86
microprocessors and the Linux operating system become
more powerful and more viable.
The company has since embraced both x86 chips and Linux
in an effort to become a leader in low-cost computing.
The move toward desktops is another facet of that
But Tuesday's announcement also echoes a theme heard
throughout Sun's nearly 20-year history: A desire to
position itself as an alternative to Microsoft in
In the late 1980s, Sun's 386i PC project flopped as the
young company was then ill-prepared for the market. More
recently, attempts to get support for its universal
programming language Java in desktops have been hindered
In fact, Sun's $1 billion antitrust case over that
matter is still pending in a Maryland federal court.
Sun's latest attempt tries to leverage its Java brand,
which is popular on a wide range of computing platforms
from servers to cell phones but has contributed little
directly to the company's bottom line.
Singer said because of Java's openness and integration
with the new Sun desktop software, developers will have
access to more components of the underlying software
than they do with Microsoft's proprietary offerings.
Singer said there's another key difference between Sun
Java Desktop and Microsoft Windows-based systems.
"Guess what? It wouldn't have blown up ... with the
worms and the viruses" of recent weeks, he said.
Sun also planned to announce a major upgrade to its
StarOffice productivity suite. Singer said it would work
better than previous versions with Microsoft's competing
Besides the desktop system, Sun also was to announce
Tuesday a suite of server software at its SunNetwork
user conference in San Francisco. The software, formerly
called Project Orion, has been officially named Java
Enterprise System. It's priced at $100 per employee per
"It's kind of taking a page out of Microsoft's books,"
Singer said. "We are for the first time introducing a
suite of products that have greater value as the sum of
the parts than the parts themselves."
On the Net:
Sun Microsystems: http://www.sun.com