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Sun hits back at Unix vendors' FUD

WildFire is a Skoda, competitors running frit

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The propaganda war waged by HP, IBM and Compaq against Sun has caused a senior executive at McNealy's firm to rebut claims that it is misleading customers.

Far from his company misleading customers, said Chris Sarfas, UK product manager at Sun Microsystems, the other Unix vendors were effectively pulling the wool over the eyes of corporate customers.

Earlier this week, at the WildFire launch [I've already told you to stop using that codename once - Ed], a senior executive at Compaq accused Sun of misleading customers by not telling them that they would have to swap out tin when products based on UltraSparc III started arriving. And, a week earlier, a senior HP executive made a virtually identical accusation.

Sarfas said: "We don't understand their point. At some time, you have to change platforms. Will HP's Superdome product be a minor upgrade? We all know it will be based on a PA Risc chip and HP is committed to moving to Intel IA-64 technology."

He said: "HP is changing both operating systems and microprocessors, and that will be a major change." While HP said that it was committed to binary compatibility between PA Risc and IA-64 technology, it very much remained to be seen whether third party software application vendors, such as Oracle, would support that model.

"We're not changing our binary architecture in UltraSparc III," he said, which would become available in the next 12 months. "When we announced Solaris 8 in January, we said that this was an OS that will run on UltraSparc III." The software was available to all Sun customers running Solaris 7 and the firm will actually change the OS to make sure there is binary compatibility.

"We will guarantee applications will work if they run on Solaris 7," he said. "We have a single strategy and we have guaranteed compatibility, which is far more than anyone else has done. They're trying to mislead people."

He said it was understandable, given the financial results of Compaq, IBM and HP over the last quarter, that they were trying to put forward this misleading point of view.

"We're the clear market leader and you expect competitors to say that they will displace you. I do say the aggressive tactics have become highly questionable. On the ground, the situtation is completely different."

He said that he had noticed that Compaq, at its WildFire launch, had claimed that its platform was half the price and double the performance of Sun boxes. But, he said: "A Skoda is half the price of a Ford, but that doesn't make Skoda the market leader." ®

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