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Sun sells 80m users worth of software to Deutsche Telekom

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Sun Microsystems has nailed down what could be the largest federated management deal to date, signing up Deutsche Telekom for a multi-million dollar software package that covers more than 80m users.

Details on the deal are still thin at this point with Sun looking to control a leak in a German paper. Sun did, however, tell The Register that DT has plunked down at least $10m for its Java Systems Access Manager software. DT will be using the software to link up 80m of both its own subscribers and those of partners to offer the fabled single sign-on services. The reports out of Europe incorrectly stated that Sun had sold 80m licenses of its server software, which would have been quite a feat.

Sun sold a number of servers in the deal as well but could not say if they were UltraSPARC, Opteron or Xeon boxes. The $10m figure is only for the software portion of the sale.

It's likely that Sun beat out IBM for the win, but Ken O'Berry, product line manager for Access Manager at Sun, declined to say whether or not IBM was involved.

Sun has been working for some time to promote the Liberty Alliance and the idea of single sign-on services. These types of services let users enter their registration information once and then use numerous products from various vendors. A telco could, for example, team up with music, video or news content providers to sell services on a cell phone.

Sun has been busy on other software fronts this week as well.

Sun announced a new compensation model for selling the Solaris x86 operating system on non-Sun hardware.

"We're now compensating Sun's hardware salesforce for selling Solaris on non-Sun hardware," said Sun's President Jonathan Schwartz in his blog. "So if a sales rep sells Solaris on Dell or IBM, or even HP (Xeon or Nocona), we pay them as if they sold the hardware. This is a huge culture change, obviously. It also focuses everyone on keeping customers happy - and driving hardware choice. (And Fedora upgrades.)"

Schwartz also announced that Sun has finally got Solaris x86 up and running on Intel's x86-64-bit Xeon processors. Sun, however, has not said if it will ship servers running on these chips. So far, it has picked AMD's Opteron processor only for the 64-bit x86 market.

To promote this Opteron gear, Sun will now give Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs) a hardware discount. MCPs can receive up to 35 percent off Sun's Opteron-based workstations and servers if they purchase the systems in the next three months. This promotion is part of Sun's change of heart with regards to Windows. Sun has yet to ship Windows on its boxes but does certify the gear to work with the OS, which allows customers to receive support from Redmond. More info is available here.

Last and probably least, Schwartz used his blog to issue a recent attack against Red Hat.

"I was heartened to hear a Red Hat executive at a recent Wachovia Securities conference agree with my comments on consolidation in linux - by providing a real life example of how Red Hat's managed to dupe the linux community with their proprietary distro, and erect barriers to switching (according to Red Hat's calculation, the cost of switching is $4M per distro for an ISV - and the guy is bragging about it). Not exactly a pro-open stance to take."

Check out Schwartz's blog to find a link to the Wachovia Securities conference audio replay. It is pretty amusing to hear the Red Hat executive laugh about the $4m cost for certifying to Red Hat Linux. ®

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