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Sun sub $1,000 servers are double the price in UK

Over-priced, under-specced, and over here

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Sun's first sub $1,000 Solaris server is going to cost UK customers almost twice as much as it would buying it online in the US.

But forget the end users. Sun's UK channel partners have reacted angrily to the hardware giant's explanation of why UK users get to pay almost double - because it makes them look bad.

The sub $1,000 deal, for a server in Sun's Netra range, is available only to US customers through the hardware giant's store as a special offer and UK users will have to pay £1,200 ($1,800) for the same box. Sun explained the price difference at the launch by saying that its channel partners "added value", which has proved to be something of a PR gaff.

Channelnet, the online arm of UK reseller mag Microscope, reports that UK resellers have reacted angrily to the suggestion the channel was adding almost $800 to the cost of the product.

It quotes one reseller who said: "I feel betrayed. This is not good for the profile of the channel."

Before been too outraged with Sun over high prices its worth noting here that most goods in the IT industry cost more in the UK than the US, and this goes for IBM boxes, Cisco routers or PCs as much as it applies to Sun kit.

Chris Sarfas, Sun's sales manager for channel providers, said the $1,000 deal on the Netras was a promotional price, available only through Sun's online store, and as such was not directly comparable.

"Most of our equipment is sold through channel partners - around 70 per cent," said Sarfas. "We're not selling through the web in the UK. In any case our web business is less than we thought it would be - it's less than one per cent."

This seems an extraordinary admission for a senior exec from the firm which "put the com in .com" to make, but Sarfas explained that Sun fulfilled half its sales electronically but that this was mainly done through Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).

"You're not going to buy a Sun server for $50,000 on your credit card," he added. ®

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Channelnet story

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