Sun Microsystems Unveils Unified Channel Framework

4/21/2004 - To help U.S. channel partners increase profitability through solutions-led sales, Sun Microsystems unveiled a unified channel framework that will dramatically simplify the way in which partners engage and do business with Sun. The comprehensive architecture integrates previously disparate systems, software and services partner programs from across the company, allowing qualified partners to sell any -- or all -- of Sun's products and services through a single contract and a single point of contact within Sun.

"Customers today aren't looking to buy their hardware, software and services separately. They want a complete solution that helps them get to market faster, and with lower cost," said Gary Grimes, vice president of U.S. Partner Management and Sales at Sun Microsystems, Inc. "As Sun has redefined itself as a true solutions-led company, partners have asked that we structure our engagement models with them accordingly. This new framework erases the lines between our hardware, software and services organizations, and gives partners a single contract and point of contact with Sun."

Unified Framework Provides New Services and Software Opportunities; Helps Save Time and Money for iForce Partners
The unified framework allows U.S. partners to engage with Sun at three distinct levels: Foundation, Premier and Elite. The Foundation level is designed to support entry-level partners focused on the mid-market. The Premier level is a mid-tier program for existing partners that have made significant investments in selling Sun's entire product line. The Elite level will reward partners that have made extraordinary investments in helping Sun deliver technology and business solutions to all customers and markets.

The integrated framework will provide partners easier access and visibility to the entire portfolio of Sun products and services, helping them sell complete solutions based on the Sun platform. The new framework will also help lower administrative costs with a single agreement process.

As part of this unified framework, partners will be given access to new services and software sales opportunities. Foundation and Premier partners will now be able to refer and resell all Sun Services offerings, and the full Sun software product suite, through a single authorized iForce contract. The Sun Software Elite program, which rewards and recognizes partners for developing Sun software solutions expertise and sales, will be available to partners who meet and obtain the competency and revenue requirements.

New Integrated Hardware, Software and Services Competency Architecture
Sun will also offer an integrated competency architecture that brings together Sun's systems, software and services offerings in a more effective, cohesive training architecture. The new competency architecture consists of two basic certification levels, Foundation and Premier, and provides a streamlined learning path that helps partners achieve certification quickly so they can begin selling Sun products and services. By simplifying the competency framework, particularly at the Foundation level, Sun is addressing the needs of partners selling in the high volume product space, enabling them to quickly begin selling Sun products. At the same time, it preserves the investments of partners at the Premier level who sell the full spectrum of Sun's product line.

All courses at the Foundation and Premier levels are web-based and offered at no cost to partners. Through completion of pre-test evaluations, partners may be able to test out of mandatory coursework, thereby leveraging their existing experience in the industry. The previous annual renewal program will be replaced with quarterly web-based reviews.

In addition, Sun has formed a U.S. Compliance Office that will enforce iForce contracts and support partner investments in Sun. The Office will help ensure consistent policies and penalties for contract violations across all partner types, and will document and verify non-compliant behavior in order to support other partners. To complement the unified channel framework, Sun also integrated the National Advisory Council and Software Advisory Council into a single National Advisory Committee that represents all partner types. The unified committee will be instrumental in driving major changes and process improvements across Sun.

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision -- "The Network Is The Computer" -- 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 100 countries and on the World Wide Web at

Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, iForce, Java 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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