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Sun Microsystems is planning more hardware and software bundles this fall, having experimented with subscription-based offerings in the recent past.

John Fowler, executive vice president for Sun’s Network Systems Group (NSG), called initial offerings such as the Ultra 20 Workstation launched at JavaOne in June “only the beginning.”

“We believe that with the operating system, system management, middleware stack and excellent work on systems packaging we can have some excellent tools in this space,” Fowler said.

Fowler, speaking in San Francisco, would not be drawn on hardware configurations, likely software or pricing plans for the bundles. He added, though, that Sun could “bundle and price how we wish” because Sun can provide all the necessary component elements itself, without turning to partners.

The planned launch continues a strategy started in February 2004, with the SunFire V20z AMD-based Opteron server. Priced at $1,499 a year for three years, the server was bundled with Solaris 9.0 for x86 and Java Studio Enterprise, Sun Studio and support services.

The latest installment in Sun’s subscription-based bundling strategy came at JavaOne in June, with the Ultra 20 Opteron-based workstation. Priced $29.95 per month for a three-year subscription, the server features Java Studio Enterprise 7 and Java Studio Creator 2004Q2.

Sun yesterday refused to give numbers for up-take of the Ultra 20, but claimed demand has been “higher then we thought."®

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