Sun launches online sale to mark 25th anniversary

Sun Microsystems is discounting servers, storage equipment and software by up to 60% over the next two weeks, in its own web-based version of a blue-light special aimed at drawing in new customers.

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Sun Microsystems is discounting servers, storage equipment and software by up to 60% over the next two weeks, in a web-based sale aimed at drawing in new customers.

The online sale, which will last until 7 May, also is being used to mark the company's 25th anniversary. This is the first time Sun had ever done anything like this, said Marsha Cavanagh, the firm's vice president of life cycle marketing.

Discounts are being offered on enterprise systems such as the Sun Fire x4500 server, which is seeing a 50% price reduction to $24,000 (£12,000) -- down from its usual starting price of $47,995 (£25,000).

In other examples, Sun has cut the starting price of its Sun StorageTek 5220 NAS storage system from $27,000 (£13,500) to $10,960 (£5,480) and reduced the base cost of its Ultra 20 M2 workstation with a dual-core Opteron processor from $1,345 (£665) to $1,150 (£550).

Software and services have also been reduced. For example, the StarOffice 8 suite of desktop applications is being offered online for $34.95 (£17.50) per end user, down from its usual price of $69.95 (£35).

Sun has been trying to broaden its market reach through initiatives such as its Try and Buy Programme, which allows customers to use some of the company's equipment for up to two months before deciding whether to purchase it. Sun says that about 4,500 customers have participated in the Try and Buy Programme so far. It also is offering large discounts to start-ups and Web 2.0-type companies.

Asked if Sun's resellers and channel partners might be worried about the impact of the 25th-anniversary sale, Cavanagh said the online discounts are not intended to pirate customers away from the vendor's business partners. "We are actually creating demand for our channel partners," she said.

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