Sun Lambasts IBM Over "Vendor Lock-In" Strategy

January 24, 2005
January 24, 2005 – (HOSTSEARCH.COM) – Sun Microsystems COO recently posted this open letter to IBM CEO, Sam Palmisano in a web blog on the Sun site;

Sam Palmisano
Chairman and CEO
IBM Corp
New Orchard Road
Armonk, NY 10504

Dear Sam,

IBM and Sun have a long history of partnering. We've worked on Java together, more recently you joined us in the Liberty Alliance, helping to drive standards around network identity. We, and our customers, appreciate constructive partnership.

As you're no doubt aware, Sun is set to ship the newest release of our Solaris operating system, Solaris 10. It's the most secure OS the world has ever seen - bringing mainframe features, like logical partitioning, to every platform on which it runs. Solaris is now available on over 300 systems, from vendors such as IBM, Dell, HP and of course Sun's SPARC and Opteron systems. We've made Solaris into a truly vendor neutral OS.

Customers and partners have noticed. From Federal Express to Verisign, SAP and Oracle to Siebel, Veritas and BEA - from across the globe and marketplace - there is tremendous demand and support. They love that we're open sourcing Solaris, and that we'll be the first open source vendor to offer a commercial version of our product with indemnification against intellectual property lawsuits. They love that we can run linux apps unmodified. I'm assuming you've seen comments such as those from Tony Scott, CTO, General Motors, in the recent eWeek article - we've got dozens more customers happy to speak with the press about their growing concern.

We've repeatedly passed along customer interest in having IBM support Solaris 10 with WebSphere, DB2, Tivoli, Rational and MQSeries products. Customers have made repeated calls to you and your staff. Those same customers have now asked me to begin communicating with you in a more public and visible way - they'd like the choice to run IBM products on Solaris 10, and they're feeling that your withholding support is part of a vendor lock-in strategy. A strategy to trap them into IBM's proprietary Power5 platform only.

Frankly, that behavior is reminiscent of an IBM history many CIO's would like to forget.

We've made sure your engineers know that moving from Solaris 8 or 9 to Solaris 10 takes no work, given that we offer true binary compatibility. If you're on SPARC, and you'd like to take advantage of a world of x86 systems, it's a simple recompile. There's no recoding at all. Same applies to scaling up from Intel or Opteron to SPARC. No recoding.

So the technology is there, and so are the customers, partners and opportunities. But it's more evident by the day, the only vendors that fear choice are those trying to block it. We stand at the ready to help you tear down this wall.


Jonathan Schwartz,
President, Chief Operating Officer
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

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