"What drives me crazy is that Jonathan spends a lot of time in the press talking about OpenSolaris and not about the architecture and density of Sun's x86 servers, or what continues to be the world-changing architecture of its Niagara boxes. As a partner I'd like to see him creating increased visibility and attention for those things at Sun that we partners can drive and make money on," said Rob Wolfe, CEO of AvcomEast, a Vienna, Va., Sun solution provider.
Whether or not the vendor is getting the desired traction from this strategy is an open question, however. Several partners said that out of 10 customers looking at OpenSolaris or Linux, maybe one or two end up running either on Sun hardware.
But Sun-affiliated partners insist customers will pay for real value, as long as it is communicated clearly and emphatically. "If you look at the cell phone market, the model was historically to give away the handset and make money on the service or annual fees. The iPhone changed the rules, showing customers are willing to pay a premium for innovation. iPhones don't need to be $99 or free. I feel the same way about Sun's Solaris as well as its innovative chips and servers," said AvcomEast's Wolfe.
Harry Kasparian, CEO of Burlington, Mass.-based Corporate Technologies Inc., Sun's 2008 partner of the year, agreed. "My view is that people will buy great products." It is his contention that Sun fields superior hardware and software that can command a premium over competitive wares. But many VARs say the marketing is not keeping up with the technology.
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