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VARBusiness: Is Sun Software An Oxymoron?

Sep 17, 1999, 23:47 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Barbara Darrow)

"Sun is 'going into services and selling components. That's the classic end-game chapter for traditional computer companies,' opined Will Zachmann, of Canopus Research, Duxbury, Mass. ... If you're over 30 you might recall these guys: Data General, Prime, DEC, Wang. ... Sun, said Zachmann, is playing the same old proprietary games these guys played. "Sun said, 'Java is a standard but ha ha, we own it,' ' Zachmann said. Sun, he maintains, is more, not less, proprietary than its archnemesis Microsoft. Microsoft itself makes the same point..."

"Sun... is a technology leader, and always will be. But who's following? Even Java allies IBM and Novell condemn what they call Sun's 'heavy-handedness' with Java. Sun, said one Novell exec, has done more to damage Java than anything Microsoft has done.

Now Sun is reviving its thin-client tactic with Sun Ray, which derives its smarts from a back-end Sun server. Sun said the new device will run Windows applications, courtesy of Citrix as well as its newly acquired StarOffice. You can almost hear Steve Ballmer's sarcastic response now: "Hooray, it's a return to the dumb terminal!'"

"With Sun Ray, and the fact that Sun is taking on Microsoft in applications and building its consulting services, Sun resellers have become puzzled. 'The consistent thread is that no one knows what the heck is going on and we're all trying to sort it out,' one VAR said of Sun's software strategy."

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