Sun and AOL Time Warner end iPlanet pact

Sun Microsystems and AOL Time Warner (AOLTW) officially parted ways Sunday on their iPlanet E-Commerce Solutions alliance, as Sun will now take full control of the iPlanet staff and product line.

Scott McNealy, chairman and chief executive officer of Sun, sent out an e-mail to Sun customers late last week, notifying them that the three-year partnership with AOLTW had come to an end, according to a Sun statement.

"iPlanet is now a division of Sun and a core component of our Sun Open Net Environment (Sun ONE) offering," McNealy wrote in the e-mail. "We have intellectual property rights for all of the products. And the product-engineering and support organizations are now fully staffed by Sun employees."

Sun's takeover of the iPlanet team and products was not unexpected. Sun, based in Palo Alto, California, rehired hundreds of iPlanet employees laid off last year by AOLTW. In addition, Sun executives have long said they planned to bring iPlanet closer to the company, when the contract with AOLTW expired on March 17.

The Internet infrastructure products from iPlanet play a key role in Sun's overall software architecture, along with the company's Solaris operating system, Forte developer tools and Java technology. The iPlanet division makes a Directory Server, Application Server, portal product and other software products that are being linked closely with Solaris and that serve as the foundation of the Sun ONE architecture.

Sun and AOLTW did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

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