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Sun hopes to cash in on wireless with Pixo

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Sun Microsystems backed up some of its J2ME hype on Thursday, announcing plans to acquire software maker Pixo.

Pixo makes Java-based server software for managing content delivery to mobile devices. It sells the Mobile Download Server (MDS) product to operators who are looking for a way to manage a variety of wireless content subscription services and speed downloads. The company also makes the MDS Deployment Toolbox for creating Java-based services.

These types of products fit in well with Sun's current ambitions in the wireless market.

Sun has suffered as carriers and service providers pulled back dramatically on their network equipment spending. To help spur the communications market, Sun has pushed to make J2ME (Java2 Micro Edition) one of the standard platforms for delivering software to mobile devices. Sun hopes strong links between J2ME and the server version J2EE (Java2 Enterprise Edition) will make delivering digital content and other services easier for carriers.

So far, Sun's strategy has paid off with the wireless market remaining a rare Microsoft-free safe haven.

Sun is betting that this early success will it help it cash in big time on consumer and business spending for wireless services. If the carriers and service providers have fat pockets, they're likely to order up some Sun servers and software.

Sun plans to add the Pixo products into its Orion stack of software, which includes Sun's application server, web server, directory server, and various other products. The company is expected to announce pricing for the Orion stack in the next few months, making it a bundle sold with Solaris and Linux.

Sun is also looking for the Pixo products to get it a shot at the digital rights management market. The company is already in the Java smart card business and has been talking up DRM quite a bit lately.

Sun plans to grab Pixo in an all cash transaction, closing in Sun's first fiscal quarter, which starts July 1. The standard approval procedures are required to seal the deal. ®

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