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Sun Microsystems Unveils Pair of Lower-Cost Servers

The computer maker, which is collaborating with software firm Oracle, hopes to regain market share lost to Dell.

May 20, 2003|From Bloomberg News

Sun Microsystems Inc., whose server computers have been losing market share to cheaper machines made by Dell Computer Corp., introduced two servers Monday that Sun said were less expensive than comparable ones made by Dell.

The computers will run either the free Linux operating system or Sun's Solaris software, the company said. The Sun Fire V60x and V65x will cost $2,450 and $2,650, respectively, and will use so-called x86 processors made by Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Sun said.

Sun Chief Executive Scott McNealy made the announcement in San Francisco with Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison, who has promoted the idea of saving money by hooking together cheaper Dell machines to run an Oracle database. "Inevitably, the big machine is going to die," Ellison told analysts last year.

McNealy said Sun was committed to less expensive computing.

"Everybody's looking for lower-cost ways to build their computing environments," he said. "We understand. We get it."

McNealy built Sun by selling servers that run only on its Solaris software, a version of the Unix operating system, and proprietary Sparc chips. Last August, Sun introduced computers with Linux and Intel chips.

The company was slow to jump on the "low-cost bandwagon," McNealy said Monday.

Oracle's database software, which stores business information such as insurance claims, will run on all Sun machines, the companies said.

In the first quarter, Sun's shipments of server computers fell 13% as Dell's shipments climbed 28% and IBM Corp.'s rose 20%, according to market research firm Gartner Inc. Hewlett-Packard Co., the world's largest server maker, sold 3.6% more machines.

Sun agreed to sell machines that run Red Hat Inc.'s version of Linux. Each company would offer support and maintenance services to clients that buy Sun machines with Linux.

On Nasdaq, shares of Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun fell 16 cents to $4.14, and shares of Redwood City, Calif.-based Oracle fell 39 cents to $12.17.

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