The vendor's presentation on its ONE Web services strategy in San Francisco has been described as long on vision but short on detail.
The presentation has also been seen as an attempt to steal the headlines from Microsoft, which announced its own .net strategy eight months ago. Sun's ONE strategy is a two-year roadmap for software developers. The strategy repackages many of Sun's existing products, such as Java 2 Enterprise Edition, the Forte development tools and iPlanet software, as essential tools for the creation of Web-enabled software services. It also introduces the Sun ONE Webtop, developer release 1.0, a browser-based desktop application for displaying Web services and office software running on a remote server.
Ashlim Pal, programme director for Web and collaboration strategies at the Meta Group, said the strategy contained little that was new and was simply an extension of Sun's existing business philosophy. He predicted that Sun would find it more difficult than Microsoft to win acceptance of its Web services products because of the company's lack of success in desktop software.
"I don't believe that Oracle or Sun have the mindset needed to write successful applications. They don't understand what make an application environment attractive. They have the same problem that Novell had in the 1980s, in that before you get an application on the desktop you have to get developers to write for it."
Neil Ward-Dutton, research director at Ovum, said that Sun was one of many companies - Microsoft, IBM and Hewlett-Packard included - that were competing against each other with similar Web services strategies, while co-operating on the projects needed to provide the open standards that would underlie Web services.
"Sun's initiative is very much in line with Microsoft's .net strategy," he said, while warning that, "Sun is too focused on Microsoft to the detriment of its own success."
Ward-Dutton said the credibility of Sun's strategy was in doubt given its failure to win acceptance for the Star Office desktop package and other software initiatives aimed at stealing Microsoft's thunder.
What is the ONE initiative?