Sun signs OEMs for desktop products

Sun Microsystems has signed 21 original equipment manufacturers for several products the company offers as alternatives to...

Sun Microsystems has signed 21 original equipment manufacturers for several products the company offers as alternatives to Microsoft desktop software.

The OEM deals, with companies such as Tadpole Computer and Taiwan-based Nature Worldwide Technology, are for such Sun products as the Java Desktop System, which contains a Linux-based operating system and related desktop software, the StarOffice software suite and Sun Ray thin clients. The StarOffice suite is part of the Java Desktop System but is also sold separately.

"We're doing better on the OEM front than we thought we'd be," said Curtis Sasaki, Sun's vice president of desktop solutions.

One of those OEMs is Microtel Computer Systems, whose PCs loaded with the Java Desktop System are sold now through Walmart.com. Prices for the Microtel PCs with the Java Desktop System range from $298 to $698. They feature processors either from Intel or Advanced Micro Devices with clock speeds that range from 1.6GHz to 3.0GHz. The PCs are also available at http://www.java.com/walmart.

The Java Desktop System began shipping in December 2003 and Sun will ship version 2.0 of the Java Desktop System next month. Expectations for the product are high: Sasaki is shooting for Java Desktop System to have five years from now a global market share of between 15% and 20% of the desktop platform market, now dominated by Microsoft.

The Java Desktop System costs $100 per employee per year or $50 per employee per year if the client also buys the Java Enterprise System server software, which costs $100 per employee per year. These prices are significantly below those charged by Microsoft for similar products.

Juan Carlos Perez writes for IDG News Service

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