Sun is shifting away from mainly offering expensive high-end servers running its chips and its Solaris version of the Unix operating system and embracing lower-priced hardware systems with cheaper software alternatives.
Sun has been struggling as it copes with shrinking market share, layoffs and 10 consecutive quarters of revenue declines
In a move widely expected by analysts, Sun Chief Executive Scott McNealy told an audience at Comdex, the technology industry’s longtime main trade show, that its computers using AMD’s 64-bit Opteron processors will be available with its own Solaris software as well as the Linux open source operating system. Linux can be copied and modified freely, unlike proprietary software such as Solaris and Microsoft Corp.’s Windows.
“Here’s a processor architecture that takes advantage of what Solaris has to offer,” McNealy said. The architecture marks a departure from Sun’s long-time strategy of using its own software exclusively with its own chips.
AMD, which has been marketing 64-bit microprocessors that can crunch more complex calculations faster than current-generation 32-bit processors, has been signing up hardware partners to try to beat bitter rival Intel Corp. in the nascent market for affordable, high-end computing.