Hewlett-Packard Co thinks it’s got Sun Microsystems Inc on the run in the company’s home territory – Unix. Scott McNealy hasn’t said the word Unix for five months, it quips, claiming all of the Sun’s efforts appear to be directed towards Java and yet there’s no obvious revenue stream from the language. And what’s Sun’s new consumer-oriented ‘Stop The Technology Madness’ advertising campaign all about anyway? It doesn’t have any consumer products. HP says its fourth quarter numbers due November 17 will show that sales of its Unix products have jumped by 26%, twice as fast as Sun’s business grew sequentially over its previous financial quarter and without counting significant revenue from its new high-end V-Class servers which are targeted directly at Sun’s Ultra Enterprise 6000 and Starfire systems. The V-Class servers ship on November 18 and will be unveiled at Supercomputing ’98 in San Jose, California, next week by CEO Lew Platt with help from members of the San Francisco ’49ers football team who will parade one of the 600lb devices around the convention hall and cart it outside to a press conference. HP says its recent high-profile Unix advertising campaign has stymied Sun’s best efforts to consign HP-UX to the waste bin and claims that in the server market it is now winning 70 out of every 100 customer bids against Sun, up from only 45 wins recently. Platt is also expected to unveil a new $30m Unix marketing campaign next Monday. HP says the way it’s pricing its V-Class servers is where it will really hurt Sun. Where previously it could only get to within around 10% of Sun’s server selling price, HP says it’s now able to sell a V-Class server 25% cheaper than an equivalent Ultra Enterprise 6000 server, claiming V-Class comes in at around $94 per tpmC transaction per minute versus Sun’s at $134 tpmC. Moreover Sun is now having to discount up to 70% of the book price of a 6000 server, HP claims, and says Sun’s margins will soon reflect the effect of this pricing pressure. Even if Sun ships, say 320 Starfires in its first year of production, HP says it will ship that number of V-Class systems during the product’s first three months of existence. HP claims that Sun is losing workstation business to HP and other Windows NT workstation vendors just as fast as it re-orienting its business towards the server market. HP says it’s going to create more integrated solutions targeted at the supply chain markets where a company’s SAP or Baan ordering and manufacturing applications might be made available to customers and suppliers across the web on HP servers, integrated with HP’s electronic commerce software. To better target these markets HP’s ESY Unix Enterprise Server Group has been split into two new divisions; an HPSD high-performance systems division under Janice Chaffin and IASD internet and application server division run by general manager Nigel Ball. The two will sell the same Unix server products but kit them out for separate markets.
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