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Comdex 2001: Dell chief slates Sun

The struggle to sell servers in a slow economy has brought out the fighting spirit in Dell chief executive Michael Dell, who took a swipe at rivals during this week's Comdex trade show.

Dell singled out Sun Microsystems, claiming that Sun has put itself in a similar position to Apple by keeping its Solaris operating system and UltraSparc chip technology proprietary.

Dell favours the lower-end but more widely used products from Microsoft and Intel. He said Sun is backing itself into a corner by moving away from these platforms.

Sun recently launched low-end servers and cut the prices on its hardware to match similar products from Dell. Systems from Sun have typically been more expensive because of the high-end stability and performance features the company offers.

Dell is confident that his company can counter Sun's attack, however. He said Dell would be able to compete on a level playing field with regards to performance when Intel releases its 64-bit Itanium chip next year. The popularity of Intel chips would also drive server costs down, said Dell.

"Itanium will certainly help us push on the high-end," he said.

While Dell called Sun an "island" in the industry and said the company has some tough times ahead, he was not ready to predict Sun's demise just yet, as some Itanium supporters have done. "I don't think you can count them [Sun] out," he said.

Dell also mocked the turmoil surrounding the Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Compaq proposed merger. "It's like a soap opera," he said.

The children of both HP founders have moved to stop the planned merger - a situation that only helps Dell, he said. The company will go after HP and Compaq customers while uncertainty surrounds both their future.
Related Topics: Server hardware, VIEW ALL TOPICS

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