Behind the scenes, Sun Microsystems is getting its applications hosting story together for a launch in September.
At its ".Com your business/planning for the net economy" conference in Battersea, Sun will outline its strategy for taking on the, currently topical, application service provider market. An ASP is an ISP, telecommunications provider or systems integrator that provides rented applications, such as Oracle Financials, hosted on its own premises.
Rivals such as Hewlett-Packard have recognised that Sun has established a strong presence in the ISP market, particularly in the UK, because of its aggressive seeding campaign when the ISP market was in its infancy.
HP in particular is now trying to claw back market share and offers risk sharing deals for ISPs as part of its eServices campaign. Meanwhile, Sun has remained relatively quiet on ASPs.
"We are not going to be complacent," said Terry Maloney, Sun's buiness development manager. "The ASP market is going to be very important to all manufacturers."
The vendor is looking to partner with ISPs and telecommunications companies rather than building server farms and becoming an ASP itself, as IBM Global Services is planning to do.
Sun is quietly trying to build alliances with ASPs and such software vendors as SAP and Oracle. Sun has joined forces with database specialist Informix, ecommerce vendor Valtec and ISP Planet Online to provide hosted ecommerce sites.
The aim is to build a portfolio of product offerings for such things as email and enterprise resource planning, which the vendor will co-fund, co-market and sell through Sun's own sales force to potential customers.
"We plan to compensate our sales forces for selling services, rather than just hardware," Maloney said.
The vendor is also planning a special service provider contract, because it believes that neither end user nor reseller contracts are appropriate for this new market.
Hardware will also be offered on a risk sharing or leasing basis, where the ASP, which are not flush with cash, do not have to bear the burden of the substantial setup costs.
Last month, Sun launched its slimline, rack mounted server product, the Netra T1, which is aimed at the ISP market where saving space is key.
For more stories see this week's issue of PC Week UK
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