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TECHNOLOGY

Sun Micro to Delve Further Into E-Commerce for Service Firms

May 05, 1999|JOSEPH MENN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SAN FRANCISCO — Sun Microsystems will announce a set of programs today designed to capitalize on what it sees as the future of electronic commerce--businesses providing services to other businesses via the Web.

The company's top executives will lay out plans in New York that range from expanded partnerships with service providers who use Sun's computer servers to new leasing terms and training.

"'In the next three to five years, you're going to see massive outsourcing, starting with small companies," said Sun President Ed Zander. "Every major retailer, bank, insurance and health-care company is going to look at preferred models for outside services."

Zander said sales to service companies are already the fastest-growing business at Palo Alto-based Sun, which makes both sophisticated computers and software that runs on a variety of systems.

He said that within a year, Sun will provide support for as many as a thousand service providers, from giant telephone companies to small start-ups that use and resell Sun products.

Sun already has a major share of the servers used by Internet service providers, which give companies access to the Web. It's natural for the company to try to extend that to other applications, such as e-mail, accounting, and supply-chain management, analysts said.

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