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Sun boss blazes at rivals

The merger between Hewlett-Packard and Compaq will eliminate two competitors from the enterprise systems space, said the chairman and chief executive officer of Sun Microsystems, Scott McNealy, at last week's Gartner ITxpo in Florida.

Both companies had thrown in the towel on their architectures for enterprise computing, said McNealy.

He described Compaq as "a grocery store for Wintel" and as a "Wintel reseller", referring to the system architecture based on Microsoft's operating systems and Intel's processors.

McNealy repeatedly accused IBM of having no enterprise-computing strategy and of purposefully complicating scenarios so that its Global Services unit could sell its consulting and implementation services to confused customers, along with IBM products. Companies hiring IBM Global Services will be performing "a self-imposed lobotomy", he said.

He also referred to Microsoft's .Net Web-services architecture as .Not, and accused the company of lying constantly. "Microsoft doesn't even flirt with the truth anymore," he said.

But McNealy defended the Liberty Alliance Project, backed by Sun and other vendors, as an alternative to Microsoft's Passport online identification service. Passport is an attempt by Microsoft to build the largest online directory in the world and to profit from selling that customer information, McNealy said.

The Liberty project, on the other hand, is open, and leaves directory data in the control of each participating company. Each company decides how much customer information they will share with another company on a case-by-case basis, McNealy said.

Microsoft had been invited to be part of the alliance, said McNealy, contradicting Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer's assertion earlier in the week that his company had not been asked to participate in the project.

The Liberty system will be designed to interoperate with Microsoft's Passport and with AOL's own entry, Magic Carpet, despite neither company so far being involved in the project, which was founded by 14 companies and which claims to have attracted many more hoping to join.

McNealy also dismissed Microsoft's claims that Sun's Java licence prevents licensees from innovating. Sun and Microsoft have wrangled in courts regarding the use of Java. "You are allowed to innovate. You're not allowed to captivate," he said.

A settlement this year called for Microsoft to stop its Java development, which prompted the company to drop its Java Virtual Machine from its upcoming Windows XP operating system.

Although it recently announced it would lay off about 9% of its workers, Sun has only made minimal cuts in research and development, McNealy said.

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