Sun gets Microsoft-friendly with promotion

Sun Microsystems has found one more way to cozy up to users of Microsoft products without actually shipping the Windows operating system on its computers.

For the next three months starting yesterday, Sun will offer Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs) a 20 to 25 percent discount on its line of Opteron servers and workstations in a number of countries including Australia and New Zealand.

The promotion is designed to give Microsoft professionals the "unique opportunity" to sell and support Windows on Sun's PC systems, Sun said in a statement.

Sun's historical animosity towards Microsoft has waned substantially since the two companies settled their legal differences and entered into a technical collaboration agreement in April of this year. Sun has already certified its Xeon and Opteron systems to run Windows, but company executives say that unlike other major PC vendors, Sun still has no plans to actually ship Windows.

“This is an unusual move for Sun. We are trying to reach an audience that we have not previously been able to speak to. It shows the enormous winds of change that are sweeping through the company right now,” said Robert Becker Australian and New Zealand product manager for Sun servers.

With the promotion, which lasts for two months, MCPs will also be able to receive half off the price of Sun's Java Creator development tool.

A Sun Fire V20z server with two Opteron 244 processors and 2GB of memory will cost $4,950 under the discounted price. A V20z server with 4GB RAM will be offered at $8,130.

Of course, MCPs who want to take advantage of the Opteron's 64-bit capabilities may have to wait a while. Microsoft is not expected to ship a production version of Windows that can take advantage of Opteron's 64-bit instruction set until the first half of 2005 -- several months after Sun's promotion ends.

Dahna McConnachie contributed to this report

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