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Sun eyes fresh markets to beat recession

Sun Microsystems is forging ahead with multiple products based on both Sparc and Intel chips and exploring new markets, according...

Sun Microsystems is forging ahead with multiple products based on both Sparc and Intel chips and exploring new markets, according to executive vice-president and general manager of enterprise systems products Clark Masters.

Masters said the dotcom meltdown and slowdown in sales to telecommunications and financial services companies has led Sun to expand its reach.

Sun is pursuing markets such as government, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, and retail. "Auto ID" applications, for inventory, are a new focus, he added.

The company is also readying new Intel-based Linux systems as 32-bit complements to its bread-and-butter 64-bit Sparc systems. Sparc 4 systems, meanwhile, are expected in midrange to large Sun systems in the second half of next year.

To improve its hardware sales, Sun is endeavouring to provide customised systems. "We're changing the way we primarily do business," Masters said. "As opposed to selling components, you want to configure [systems] to the customer's order."

Sun has been ramping up its Customer Ready Systems (CRS) program, which started last May and now accounts for about 5% of sales of Sun's mid-range systems, the SunFire 3800 through 6800 lines. The company would like to bring that figure up to about 70% to 80% in a year.

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