The Sun Microsystems Year 2000 compliance group blocked the launch of three of the company?s products in the last 10 months because they were not Year 2000 compliant.
Sun has a policy of treating the Year 2000 problem as a "not for profit" exercise, according to Tony Hampel, director of Sun?s Year 2000 programme office, and is concentrating on maintaining good relations with customers. This is connected to Sun?s stringent in-house policies relating to compliance.
In an exclusive interview with VNU Newswire, Hampel said: "We physically held back products because they did not meet our stated compliance requirement, which came into force on 1 May 1997. In each situation, a third party?s technology was in the product."
The three unnamed products were "in the layered software areas" rather than hardware products or operating systems, Hampel said, and the third parties with non-compliant code were from partner companies or Sun acquisitions.
Hampel, a expatriate Briton who heads Sun?s Year 2000 unit, said Sun?s sales staff do not have sales targets on Year 2000 issues but work with Sun?s Year 2000 specialists to help educate customers and keep good relations with them. "We take a longer term view than other companies, who ask them to pay to have their systems scrubbed clean of Year 2000 issues," Hampel said.
Sun?s Year 2000 policies also state that the company will issue upgrades to compliance for products launched after 1 January 1995 and that the compliance status of hundreds of Sun products - some dating back over 10 years - are listed on Sun?s Year 2000 Web site.
The tasks involved are so big that Hampel even admitted Sun will probably fail in its bid to make all its in-house products - 700 of them -Year 2000 compliant by the end of 1998.
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