Financing giant GE Capital has backed a Sun drive to make its products more attractive through leasing deals.
Sun believes that many customers' IT purchasing policies are governed by cash in the bank rather than technical requirements, especially when budgets are diverted to year 2000 and Euro projects. The company admitted to PC Week that deals may have been lost in the past because of the company's piecemeal leasing capability.
The leasing market is growing at 20% per year, according to IDC, to an estimated #15 billion this year. Sun's competitors have been faster to set up leasing arms, either financed in house at Hewlett-Packard and IBM or through financing houses as at Dell (Newcourt Credit of Canada) and Compaq (Leasetec).
Sun Finance makes no pretence of being vendor independent, as some of its rivals claim. "It is predominantly for the financing of Sun kit but it is also available to the Sun channel so we could end up financing other vendors' complementary products," explained Andy Smith, European marketing director for Sun's Finance Operations. Smith joined Sun from GE Capital.
Sun will certainly offer financing for the purchase of products from its software partners like Oracle, Informix, Sybase, SAP or PeopleSoft.
The company's aim is to make leasing part of the product offering, not an after-thought.
The Sun ValuePlus scheme will allow customers to refresh leased technology after a year to eighteen months to prevent redundancy. Upgrades will be allowed to natural successors. For example, a ValuePlus customer would be able to upgrade to the top of the range Starfire, with the new UltraSparc II 400MHz processor, without affecting their payment structure.
Sun leasing is available for any Sun purchases over #20,000.
Sun also announced the launch of its datacentre.com strategy, codenamed Genesys, centring on the new Cluster Server 2.2 and the processor upgrade to the Starfire, as revealed exclusively in PC Week, 16 February.
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