Sun to set Orion pricing in Q3

Sun Microsystems Inc. is looking at per employee pricing of between US$100 and US$200 for its upcoming Project Orion software bundle, undercutting the price of competing bundles significantly, analysts said.

The aggressive pricing could mean users will pay one-tenth of what they are paying for comparable software products today, Steven Milunovich, a Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. first vice president wrote in a report released Tuesday.

Sun is expected to announce pricing and shipping details in the third quarter when the first beta of the product package should ship, a source at Sun said Wednesday. It is possible that there will be different product and license structures for different uses, for example for data center and development environments, the source said.

Orion will see Sun ship all of its key software products packaged in synchronized quarterly releases. The package will include all of Sun's infrastructure products such as the Sun ONE (Open Net Environment) Web Server, Application Server and server management products along with Solaris, Sun's flavor of Unix. IBM Corp. and Microsoft Corp. offer competing packages.

Sun is hoping Orion will generate more software revenue. At US$200 per employee for Orion, Sun's top 60 accounts would bring in US$2 billion in annual revenue, Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president of software at Sun told Merrill Lynch, according to the report.

Schwartz unveiled Orion in late February, calling it "the redefinition of an operating system."

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