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Sun confirms MS Win2k pricing ‘manipulation’

When is a promotional price not promotional price?

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Chris Sarfas, Sun's UK product marketing manager, was in an explosive mood when he alleged that Microsoft has manipulated a price comparison between Solaris and Windows 2000 in its pricing announcement. Indeed, we said much the same thing earlier this week (see Win2k smoke and mirrors -- how MS is hiking OS prices.)

"Any comparison between Solaris and Windows 2000 should use the same hardware," he observed testily, and went on to point out that a 100-user licence for Windows 2000 advanced server would cost $15,996 (and $3999 for each additional 25 users), compared with $4395 for a Solaris 7 licence for an unlimited number of users on an eight-CPU system.

Sarfas told The Register how that Solaris 8 prices are expected to be similar to those for Solaris 7. Furthermore, Solaris should be compared with Windows 2000 data centre version, for which Microsoft had not yet released prices officially, he said. Another table in Microsoft's Windows 2000 pricing announcement compared NetWare 5 prices, which were higher.

Despite repeated enquiries, Novell was unable to comment on the prices at press time, so perhaps Microsoft is correct on this occasion.

There is, however, a nonsense footnote in the table which says that "all prices are non-promotional estimated retail prices". But when you look at Microsoft's prices, what do you find but a column headed "Windows 2000 Server competitive... upgrade". If a competitive price is not a promotional price, we'll stop drinking Guinness. Maybe it's these competitive prices that have floored Novell for the moment at least. ®

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