Sun Teams With Fujitsu For High-End Computing

Vendors will market each other's products; Sun also launching variable-pricing effort
Sun is offering variable-pricing models, says Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's president and chief operating officer

Schwartz says Sun is offering variable-pricing models.
Sun Microsystems last week revealed the missing piece in its corporate turnaround strategy that analysts believe provides a clearer road map to how Sun will address the spectrum of enterprise-server demand.

In a partnership with Fujitsu Ltd., Sun will create systems for high-end computing. Combined with Sun's move to address the volume market with servers powered by Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s Opteron processor, the company has reversed its lagging position of the past few years, says Mark Stahlman, an analyst at investment research firm Caris & Co.

"A year ago, Sun had already been buried; people were just trying to figure out in which graveyard," Stahlman says. "There have been questions hanging over Sun, as well as the future of Sparc [chips]."

Sun and Fujitsu plan to jointly market each other's high-end server lines, each selling Fujitsu's Advanced Product Line systems based on Fujitsu's Sparc64 processor and Sun's Niagara and Rock systems based on its UltraSparc4 processor.

Sun's decision in April to abandon the UltraSparc5 left many questioning its future in the mainframe-level market, which from now on will be addressed by Sparc64, Stahlman says. The partnership lets both companies better balance their research and development efforts and "fill gaps in the road map," says Vernon Turner, an IDC analyst.

Sun also is launching variable-pricing models for its storage products and services, and bringing the Java Enterprise System to new users, says Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's president and chief operating officer. "All evidence indicates that we have ample opportunities to execute in the market," he says.

Sun, which hasn't had a profitable year since its fiscal year 2001, projects it will be profitable in fiscal 2005.

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