Ballmer, McNealy to give update on Sun-Microsoft pact

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Sun Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy next month will host an event to discuss progress in collaboration between the companies.

Microsoft Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steve Ballmer and Sun Microsystems Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy will host an event in mid-May to detail progress the companies have made since the signing of a 10-year collaboration agreement last year.

The event will be the first time for the CEOs of both companies to publicly discuss their collaboration since the deal was closed in April 2004. Users and analysts have criticized the companies saying the collaboration, which is intended to focus on interoperability, has not resulted in many tangible results.

"Scott and I are going to do sort of a state of the union report [on] where we have gotten in a few weeks," Ballmer said in a presentation at a Microsoft event on Wednesday. A Sun spokeswoman on Thursday confirmed that an event is being planned for mid-May. It will be a physical event, as opposed to a conference call or webcast, that will be open to media and analysts, she said.

The content of the event is still being worked on, the Sun spokeswoman said.

Ballmer, in a keynote presentation at the Microsoft Management Summit on Wednesday, gave a sneak preview of some of the joint efforts between Sun and Microsoft. He shared the stage with a large Sun server and demonstrated how, in the future, users will be able to manage Sun hardware and Sun Solaris with Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM). This interoperability is the result of work Microsoft and Sun have done on WS-Management, a Web services specification for transporting management information, Ballmer said.

Still, it has been more than a year since Microsoft and Sun struck a peace accord that has been described as a watershed event for the technology industry and a potential boon to users. The deal has ended the antagonism between the companies, but users still may have to wait well into the 10-year alliance to see major results, analysts and Microsoft executives have said.

As part of the deal, Microsoft paid Sun US$1.95 billion. That settled all outstanding litigation between the companies and started a dialogue and technology exchange as part of a 10-year collaboration agreement.

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