This week, Sun Microsystems slashed the prices of its just-released
Linux-based Java Desktop System and Java Enterprise System, hoping to
make the new software a more compelling Windows alternative for
corporations. The Java Desktop System runs Linux, the Ximian Desktop,
and Sun StarOffice, a solution Sun says is ready to take on Windows
and Microsoft Office. Individual Java Desktop System setups will cost
just $25, Sun says, and the full Java Enterprise System, which adds
portal, Instant Messaging (IM), email, and directory services, will be
slashed to half price--or $50 per seat--through mid-2004.
"More than two decades ago, Sun Microsystems developed its first
workstation for institutions of higher learning," Jonathan Schwartz,
executive vice president of Sun's Software Division, said. "Today, Sun
is as committed as it was on day one to partnering with universities
and research institutions to deliver the highest-quality technology.
The solution best suited for the academic environment is Sun's Java
Desktop System. It gives universities the opportunity to continue
pushing the envelope in research. Sun will also offer a very
aggressive pricing model just for the education market, just in time
for the holidays."
Sun cites countries such as China, India, and Vietnam, which have
moved to open-source-based desktop systems for cost reasons, as
justification for creating its Java Desktop System, noting an IDC
prediction that Linux unit shipments will grow from 3.4 million in
2002 to 10.4 million by 2007. Also, the company has signed an
agreement with the China Standard Software Company (CSSC), a
consortium of companies that the Chinese government supports, to use
the Java Desktop System on as many as one million desktops by the end
of 2004. This agreement is crucial in a country that will soon emerge
as a massive new opportunity for PC and software makers.