Sun Introduces New Open Desktop Client

9/19/2002 - Sun Microsystems announced a new client solution eliminating the expense of traditional desktops while significantly bolstering security and authentication.

"We've been advocating the move to browser-based applications for the past six years - we believe our customers are now ready to take that next step," said Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president of Software, Sun Microsystems. "Combining world-class Java Card authentication with an open source desktop software stack and off-the-shelf hardware, we can deliver military-grade security with profound savings in acquisition and operational costs. The power, security and economics customers have long enjoyed through Sun's end-to-end architecture are finally coming to the PC desktop. We are disrupting traditional computing economics to benefit our customers while completing our client product line."

Sun plans to extend its reach in the enterprise by initially focusing the new initiative on users in cost and security-sensitive areas such as call-centers, retail banks, and class-rooms where personal computers and their applications are generally underutilized, insecure and costly to administer. In these instances, a client is a computing device on which users handle basic tasks such as word processing and email as well as entering reservations or order entry.

The new client desktop includes hardware, Java CardTM technology (the ability to authenticate access using a Java Card), a complete, open desktop software environment as well as a server for identity, portal and messaging capabilities. This approach breaks entirely new ground in the client-side solution category and disrupts the high-cost economics of the traditional enterprise desktop.

The benefits for the enterprise are significant, with savings in acquisition, maintenance, administration and on-going operational support. This is combined with superior security, the absence of viruses and their associated costs, and an alternative to purchasing expensive Microsoft software. Sun will integrate, support and service the open source technologies that it assembles into the full solution.

The new solution brings together off-the-shelf hardware, open-source software and Sun's own industry-leading intellectual property. These include low-cost desktop systems hardware and several open source software efforts, namely Linux, Mozilla, OpenOffice, Evolution and GNOME. This gives desktop users a familiar desktop environment and the ability to interoperate with Microsoft Office documents, presentations and spreadsheet formats. In addition, with Evolution, the user is provided with a Microsoft Outlook-like client which interoperates with Microsoft Exchange while Sun also provides the fully supported StarOffice, the world's most popular open office productivity suite.

"As the leading product lifecycle management (PLM) applications provider, Agile is able to offer our solutions on the integrated Linux desktop from Sun while strengthening our commitment to deliver on Agile's Guaranteed Business results strategy," comments Joe Hage, senior vice president of product development at Agile Software Corporation. "We are able to offer a fully integrated solution while continuing our proven track record of over 850 successful implementations at manufacturing companies in the medical devices, high technology, semiconductor and automotive industries. Many of our customers require a high degree of security to protect their intellectual property and tracking to ensure regulatory compliance. Leveraging Sun's powerful identity and authentication capabilities, through SunTM ONE Identity Server and Java Cards that Sun is incorporating into the platform, enables us to focus on delivering greater business value and improved product lifecycle management processes to our customers."

"This systems approach to the network client marks another milestone in the company's edge computing strategy and was preceded by Sun's recent LX50 server announcement," said Neil Knox, executive vice president of the Volume Systems Group, Sun Microsystems. "Today's announcement builds on Sun's Linux momentum with enterprise-class security and authentication as well as the essential communication, collaboration and desktop services users need in these targeted applications."

With the ability to use Java Card technology for access and authentication to the system, customers can dramatically enhance the security of the upcoming desktop solution. As an open and proven technology Java Card solutions are currently deployed worldwide in industries such as financial services, government and telecommunications.

The total system solution is expected to be available in 2003 with prototype systems available soon at Sun's worldwide iForce centers. "We want customers, ISVs, OEMs and channel partners to have the conversation with us about how much they can save and facilitate their migration to this much needed alternative environment," said Schwartz.

About Sun Microsystems
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision — "The Network Is The ComputerTM" — has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that make the Net work. Sun can be found in more than 170 countries.

Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, SunNetwork, Java, Solaris and The Network Is The Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

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