Sun shines on startups with new program

Start Essentials Program aims to give startups a boost in tough economic times with discounted products from the troubled vendor

Sun Microsystems has introduced discounted services and hardware for startups as part of a new program to combat the economic crisis.

The Sun Start Essentials Program is open to companies that have not been in business longer than six years and have fewer than 150 employees. It provides access to discounted hardware and services, with server prices to start at less than $1000.

Launched in the US in 2006, and rolled out worldwide over the last year, the program is being offered in Australia in conjunction with Sun partners, MCR and WebCentral.

Sun partner sales manager, Sam Srinivasan, said the vendor has had a long history in working with startups. The program was the formalisation of a number of benefits it was offering customers.

"It is a significant investment on our part to drive innovation in the local economy at a time where the market is tight," Srinivasan said.

"We're experiencing a strong quarter. There are challenges out there, but customers can't stop spending on IT – it's an essential component of business."

Srinivasan said the partners’ role in the program would be to provide startups with guidance.

"We're relying on our partners to help enable the startups," he said. "Over the next three to six months we'll be making the program available to a wider partner community, but for now it's about communicating where the resource commitment needs to be at and the benefits of the program to our partners."

Earlier in the month, Sun announced that it would be cutting up to 18 per cent of its global staff numbers as a part of a global restructure plan. Srinivasan was unable to comment on whether there would be any job losses within Australia.