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Sun King vows to ask new HP Chief on a Solaris x86 date

Jocks engage in post Fiorina dance

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New HP CEO Mark Hurd should be on the lookout for a dinner invitation and a Solaris x86 goodie bag from Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy.

McNealy this week vowed to revive past conversations between HP and Sun over the use of Solaris x86 on HP's servers. The Sun Chief failed to tempt former HP CEO Carly Fiorina with such an offer but thinks he may have a chance with Hurd.

"She didn't want to partner," McNealy said of Fiorina during a Wall Street Journal conference being held in Carlsbad, California. "I'll call Mark."

The WSJ noted that McNealy earlier in the conference admitted to trying to deal with Fiorina, but the Sun executive "declined to discuss the exchange with Ms. Fiorina in detail" with the paper. Well, we're hear to help.

The Register can reveal that McNealy attended a dinner at Fiorina's house a couple of years back. The two executives discussed the possible role that Sun's version of Solaris for Intel and Xeon servers could play in HP's hardware line. Ultimately, however, Fiorina could not get over McNealy's harsh criticisms of the HP/Compaq acquisition.

We're told that Fiorina took particular exception to McNealy's description of the merger as "two garbage trucks colliding." Fiorina was so put off by this jab that she refused to entertain the idea of Solaris x86 on HP's ProLiant line. McNealy left the meeting disappointed but well fed. (McNealy was escorted into and off the compound by Fiorina's husband. What? Didn't she trust him to get across the lawn without mishap?)

Compaq was once the major supplier of Solaris x86 on Intel servers. Sun, however, pulled back on its support for the OS and left all OEMs shipping the software in the lurch. The company has subsequently tried to revive interest in the OS and has promised time and again that a major server OEM would ship it. No such luck.

Maybe a meeting with Hurd could turn things around. Hurd, after all, is an avid tennis player, while McNealy has been called the business world's best golfer. Solaris x86 chat at the club, anyone? Stranger things have happened. ®

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