Sun Microsystems is stalking the NT market with an aggressive strategy that includes a whopping 17 per cent reduction off its SME network products, director of partner sales Mike Wilson revealed last week.
Wilson said Sun intends to `attack' the NT market, which he estimates to be worth $400 million locally, through a multi-faceted marketing push via its channel.
`Sun's marketing strategy includes .com and server consolidation solutions, a joint marketing fund called SunFund and financial incentives to its channel partners and their staff,' Wilson said.
He explained the SunFund scheme has been in place for some time. It is an incentive scheme which encourages resellers to attempt entry into new markets through marketing subsidies.
However, it's the range of Sun desktops, servers and workstations - products increasingly appropriate to the SME market - coupled with the 17 per cent discount that will help the vendor penetrate traditional NT markets, according to Wilson.
The move into the Windows environment is one IDC analyst Logan Ringland believes was forced upon Sun.
`Unix seems to be a dying platform,' Ringland said. `Unix requires specialist skills and there are now fewer people out there with those skills than there used to be. So yes, this is a big move for Sun and it is also something they said they would never do.
`Whether they will do well [in the NT space] depends on how well they market themselves, as well as the incentives they offer end users and the reference sites.'
John Fennel, Sun national product sales manager, considers the company is well placed for success in the lower end of the market.
`The market wants a Unix work-station and a PC instead of having two machines on the desk,' Fennel said. `With Sun they can have one.'
Fennel also did not expect any real competition with the larger installations.
`Sun machines have better processing capabilities so clients will only need one or two of our machines compared to four to six Intel NT machines,' he said.
Sun has timed the move into the SME space to cash in on companies upgrading systems prior to the introduction of the GST, but IDC's Ringland noted that Sun may have left its run too late as Windows 2000, due out next month, `will have a huge impact' on the market.
`Sun will have to get a move on to gain market share. Its success in the NT market depends on how aggressive they market and whether they can demonstrate that the interconnectivity between the two platforms is stable.'