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October  1998
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Sun buys personal Java application company

Boston (October 20, 1998) -- Sun Microsystems Inc. has acquired Beduin Communications Inc., a Canadian startup that makes Java-based application products for consumer devices.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but a Sun official said today at a press conference that the acquisition has been finalized.

The merger will mean that Sun can more rapidly develop and release Java applications for consumer devices like cellular phones and set-top boxes, said Mark Tolliver, president of Sun's Consumer Embedded Division.

"We think it will greatly enhance the attractiveness to our customers of all of the products in this space," Tolliver said.

The first expected product resulting from the acquisition is a compact Internet browser written in the Java programming language that Sun expects to release by the end of this year. The browser will be the debut product in the Personal Applications suite, due out over the next two quarters.

Beduin has 12 employees, all of whom now work for Sun. The company opened last year and quickly grabbed the attention of Sun as it looks to boost the presence of its Java programming language in the consumer market.

"It became very, very apparent to us that our two organizations were meeting in many cases at the same customer sites," Tolliver said. "We always consider the classic make-versus-buy decision, but as we got to know the Beduin people and products better it became clear that there was some core expertise and...also passion for the products."

Sun was especially attracted to Beduin's small-footprint applications. Beduin, on the other hand, knew that it had great technology, but was having a hard time as a small company getting a foot in the consumer-market door. The company has not yet shipped its browser, slated as the startup's first product.

Bob Tennant, Beduin president and co-founder, agreed that the merger will enable Beduin employees now working for Sun to more quickly get products to market because they can obtain Java technology "straight from the source."

--Nancy Weil, IDG News Service


Sun barely beats Q1 expectations

San Francisco (October 15, 1998) -- Sun Microsystems Inc. barely beat analyst expectations in the first quarter with earnings of US$197.9 million, or 50 cents per share, excluding one-time acquisition-related charges, the company announced today.

During the first quarter, Sun incurred an $80 million charge for in-process research and development and a $30.4 million increase to its income tax provision as a result of its acquisition of Net Dynamics Inc. Including these charges, Sun's earnings were $113.9 million and earnings per share were 29 cents for the first quarter.

Sun was expected to realize 49 cent earnings per share, for the quarter that ended Sept. 27, according to analysts polled by First Call Corp. an investment research firm. Analysts typically do not consider one-time charges when making their estimates.

Revenues for the first quarter were $2.49 billion, up 19 percent from the $2.09 billion for the first quarter a year ago. Meanwhile, the earnings excluding the charges were 21 percent higher than the earnings of $108.4 million and 27 cents per share for the first quarter a year ago.

Sun's stocks finished the day on the Nasdaq exchange up $2 at $48.81.

--Elinor Mills, IDG News Service

IDC says Sun leads in Unix market and midrange servers

San Francisco (October 12, 1998) -- Sun Microsystems announced today the results of a recent report by the International Data Corp. (IDC) indicating that Sun has taken the lead in both revenue and unit shipments in the Unix server market for the second quarter of this calendar year.

After losing the revenue lead to Hewlett-Packard since Q2 CY97, Sun took back the top Unix revenue share for this calendar year's Q2, with 27 percent of total Unix revenues.

IDC also placed Sun first in midrange servers, for the total market (including both Unix and NT operating systems). According to IDC, Sun claimed 26 percent of this market for Q2 CY98.

Sun attributed its success in the midrange market to the popularity of its Enterprise 3500 through 6500 server series launched in April of this year.

"Sun's market share gains in the first half of 1998 illustrate the company's concerted focus on meeting user needs for availability, scalabilty, and performance in an increasingly Internet-driven, network computing world," said Jay Bretzmann, vice president of worldwide systems research for IDC.

"Second quarter results for Sun are historically strong, as they represent the end of the company's fiscal year, but the trend indicates Sun emerges equally as strong in the fourth quarter. As the year progresses, we expect the market to heat up and the race for first place to continue to be exciting," he added.

Among Sun's new customers in the midrange server market this year were American University and Internet advertising campaign management firm Matchlogic.

--Steven Brody, SunWorld

IBM and Sun to develop next version of Java API

San Mateo (October 6, 1998) -- Sun Microsystems and IBM announced today an agreement to collaborate in the development of the next release of the Java Media Framework (JMF), an application programming interface, or API, that facilitates the use of streaming audio and video media. The API enables the display and capture of multimedia data within Java applications and applets.

The planned version 2.0, said Sun and IBM, will allow a greater degree of flexibililty for developers to use their own compression and decompression technology in conjunction with JMF.

Sun's Java Media APIs are designed to support the integration of audio and video clips, animated presentations, 2D fonts, graphics, speech input/output, and a variety of other media applications.

The draft API specification for Java Media Framework 2.0 is scheduled to be posted for public review in Q4/98, with early access version to be released to developers by the end of the year.


--Steven Brody, SunWorld

HP licenses HotSpot technology for next OS version

San Francisco (October 7, 1998) -- Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard Co. announced today that HP has licensed Sun's Java HotSpot virtual machine, which HP will incorporate in future versions of its HP-UX operating system. Under the terms of the agreement, HP's platform will also support the next release of the Java Development Kit (JDK version 1.2).

Java HotSpot is meant to boost the speed and efficiency of the latest version of version of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), JVM 1.2, the software "black box" responsible for the execution of Java programs.

"We have seen Java applications operate at two to five times faster using the HotSpot technology," said Laura Henson, Java Program Manager at HP. "HP's operating system has been optimized to support JVM 1.2 and HotSpot."

HotSpot is currently in an alpha version released to Sun licensees. Developers, said Sun, can expect a beta release this winter. HP intends to ship products based on the Java HotSpot early next year, and said it will deliver a fully compatible JVM on IA-64, it's planned 64-bit architecture. No schedule for IA-64 has yet been announced.

--Steven Brody, SunWorld


Sun acquires Internet security software company i-Planet

San Francisco (October 5, 1998) -- Sun Microsystems announced today the acquisition of i-Planet of Sunnyvale, CA, a maker of software for secure enterprise network access over the Internet. i-Planet, previously contracted by Sun to provide software and support for 8,000 of its remote users, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Sun Microsystems, and an integral part of Sun's operation "", to reclaim its flagging share of the ISP services market.

Using i-Planet's proprietary security technology, Sun will be offering ISPs and businesses software which will allow for "clientless" access to enterprise networks. Clientless access means connecting to a remote network using only a standard Internet connection, rather than dial-up software which needs to be installed on a client like a laptop PC. This will enable users to access most or all of the services available through their enterprise network, such as e-mail, calendar tools, fax, etc.

While analysts see a market for clientless access, many doubt there is a trend in that general direction, even if the security of a private network can be guaranteed.

"I think there may be a need for this sort of thing on some level, but you have to ask the question: How many people actually need to connect to interactive two-way [virtual offices]? I don't really see a discernible trend towards that," said Brad Baldwin an International Data Corp. analyst specializing in remote access. "If it's just e-mail access, then there are a number of cheap alternatives."

Sun believes the high price paid by businesses for Internet access will drive the demand for more services available online.

"We're saving $15 million in remote access fees alone [using]," said Sun Vice President John McFarlane. "This software allows remote access to data and applications through any Internet-connected device. It is not platform-specific software."

The software will be marketed largely to ISPs, along with the new Sun Internet Mail Server (SIMS) software.

--Steven Brody, SunWorld


Bristol gets Sun's support in suit against Microsoft

Boston (October 5, 1998) -- Sun Microsystems Inc. has filed a court brief supporting the claims of Bristol Technology Inc. in its federal lawsuit alleging anticompetitive behavior on the part of Microsoft Corp.

The Sun statement, filed Sept. 24 in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut -- Bristol's home state -- says that "because Microsoft keeps their (operating system) implementation secret, only Microsoft applications can take advantage of the capabilities that make applications useful or faster running." The statement is from Brian Croll, Sun's director of Solaris product marketing.

Also in the case, U.S. District Court Judge Janet Hall has set Oct. 14, 15, and 19 as hearing dates for Bristol's motion for preliminary injunction, which seeks to force Microsoft to provide the full Windows operating system source code that Bristol says it needs to continue developing its products.

Bristol today filed a response to Microsoft's response regarding the preliminary injunction. The Bristol response reiterates the company's position and urges the court to look at Microsoft's monopoly share of the operating systems market and not just its workstation and server market share. Microsoft contends the judge should look only at the workstation and server markets.

Bristol sued Microsoft in August, charging that the software maker is illegally using its operating system monopoly to undermine the Unix market with dire consequences for the computer industry and Bristol in particular. Bristol provides cross-platform development tools allowing Windows applications to run on other operating systems. Wind/U, its flagship product, was designed to allow companies to port applications from Windows to Unix.

Bristol contends in its lawsuit that Microsoft is trying to push the small software firm out of the market by ceasing to provide Bristol with the complete source code for Windows operating systems. Moreover, Microsoft has recently bolstered its relationships with Bristol competitors, and, unbeknownst to Bristol changed its strategy regarding Unix because of widespread acceptance of the Windows NT platform, the lawsuit alleges.

"Obviously, for our customers, they know that Bristol has reliance on Microsoft's source code and technology, so the effect this has before a preliminary injunction is basically to freeze the market," Keith Blackwell, Bristol president said in an interview today.

He estimated that Bristol has as many as 20 clients who are waiting for a decision regarding the preliminary injunction before proceeding to take products to market.

"It's not good for them or us," Blackwell said of the current situation, which finds Bristol stymied in its attempts to develop products.

Now that Bristol has had access to Microsoft documents during the discovery process, where evidence is revealed, the company is even more certain of victory, he said.

"I think that everything we thought was happening was happening," Blackwell said.

Specifically, Bristol alleges that Microsoft lured Unix software developers to the Windows programming interface with the pledge that the latest Windows NT source code would be made available to third-party vendors like Bristol. Microsoft used its Windows source code licensing program as a "Trojan horse" to ensnare trusting developers only to shut out Bristol and restrict applications for Unix.

Sun is currently embroiled in a lawsuit against Microsoft regarding the licensing of the Java programming language. The U.S. Department of Justice and 20 state attorneys general also have filed a broad antitrust suit against Microsoft, specifically targeting the software giant's alleged attempts to control the Internet browser market. That case is set for trial on Oct. 15.

--Nancy Weil, IDG News Service


Sun ships Java Embedded Server

San Mateo (October 1, 1998) -- Sun Microsystems Inc.'s announced today that its Java Embedded Server, a small footprint network server which deploys and installs applications to remote embedded devices, is now available.

The server's life-cycle control functionality enables services to be delivered, upgraded, installed, and managed on a just-in-time basis, according to Sun. For example, diagnostic and repair service could be loaded into a network device, such as a router, by the Java Embedded Server. The application can then automatically remove itself from the device once repairs are completed, which frees up memory for other purposes, according to Sun. The company says that the server's scalable architecture also makes it well suited for upgrading network-enabled metering and measurement equipment and appliances.

Written entirely in Java, the server is Extensible Markup Language (XML)-enabled and runs on both the Java Development Kit and the PersonalJava platforms. It is also compatible with Sun's recently announced plug-and-play Jini technology.

The Java Embedded Server is now available by calling (888) 843-5282. It is priced at $3,500 for a developer seat with one run time; royalties are additional.

--SunWorld editors


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