Sun, Dell to Cooperate on Solaris Sales

Includes: DELL, JAVAD
by: Y.B. Fishel

Dell and Sun Microsystems, longtime rivals in computer servers market, unveiled on Wednesday a cooperation agreement which will see Dell selling servers preinstalled with Sun's latest Solaris operating system, and funnelling customers to Sun for support and services. The multi-year distribution agreement launched at the Oracle OpenWorld conference shows how the computer industry is increasingly driven by corporate demand for openness. Sun found a third of its Solaris users were running on Dell systems. Server vendor Hewlett-Packard supports Solaris on its x86-based ProLiant server line, while IBM distributes Solaris on its System x machines. "Our customers said they wanted us to provide better support for Solaris," said Dell CEO Michael S. Dell, who announced the partnership with Sun CEO Jonathan I. Schwartz. Richard Green, a VP and general manager in Sun's software business, told InformationWeek his company sees this as a chance to start a dialogue with the millions of Dell customers downloading Solaris even though Dell gets the hardware sale, while Sun only gets revenue from the support contract. John Spooner, analyst for Technology Business Research, said, "If the customer wants Solaris, then Dell is saying we'll give you what you want," adding that for Sun, the deal represents a potential increase in high-margin software sales.

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