Sun: Paving the road to Web services

Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Web services strategy, Sun ONE, is designed to compete with Microsoft Corp.'s .Net initiative. But it should pave the way for the development of smart Web services that would run on a variety of computing platforms, from PCs to handheld pagers and cellular phones and even communication systems built into cars, according to Scott McNealy, Sun's chairman and CEO.

The initiative comprises a technology infrastructure culled from Sun's Forte development tools and the iPlanet server packages that were developed through an alliance with Netscape Communications Corp.

Sun plans to deliver the additional parts of the Sun ONE infrastructure over the next two years, officials said. It includes five e-commerce applications built by iPlanet, a service deployment engine that supports XML and a developer's release of the new Web-top development tool.

It also marks a more aggressive foray into software applications and services for Sun, which is the maker of hardware and the originator of the Java development language.

Rob Enderle, an analyst at Giga Information Group Inc. in San Jose, said the transition may prove a difficult course to navigate.

"Sun management does not fundamentally understand software," he said. "Its like a hockey team winning the Stanley Cup, then deciding that they want to play professional basketball or football."

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