Here comes the Sun for the third world

Sun has come up with a new pricing model for its Java Enterprise System software architecture offering in an effort to make it more attractive for government buyers in developing nations.

Sun has come up with a new pricing model for its Java Enterprise System software architecture offering in an effort to make it more attractive for government buyers in developing nations.

Instead of the traditional per-seat charging model, Sun says it will charge “per citizen” for JES release 2, a package of server software including Sun’s application server, directory server and portal server.

The pricing ranges from $US0.33 to $US1.95 ($NZ0.55 to $NZ3.12) per capita and annum, depending on if the country in question ranks as “least developed” or “less developed”. The United Nations department of Economic and Social Affairs classification will be used to determine this.

Exactly how the per-citizen pricing works is yet to be revealed, but a check on the UN site shows that New Zealand has not obtained third-world status and government buyers here are likely to continue paying first-world prices for Sun’s products.

Sun plans to release a version of JES that runs on Red Hat in May and versions for Windows HP-UX by the end of the year.

Another innovative pricing scheme announced by Sun was the pay-as-you-go storage service, which includes installation, support and licences, for a price starting at $US0.02 per megabyte.

Computerworld asked Sun Microsystem’s Auckland office if the new pricing initiatives would have any bearing on New Zealand but it had not been briefed on the development.

Sun isn’t the only large IT vendor targeting the developing world with novel licensing schemes.

Last year former Sun arch-rival Microsoft put together a cut-down version of a Windows XP and Office bundle for the Thai government’s “People’s PC” project, which sells for a low 1490 baht, or about $60. In March this year Microsoft announced a similar package in Malaysia that includes a customised Malay-language version of Windows XP Home Edition and Works Suite 2004. The software will be loaded on to a budget PC, devised by Malaysia’s IT association Pikom and retailing for $485.

Sun Microsystems and Microsoft appear to be aligning their corporate thinking as well. Greenhorn Sun president and chief operating officer Jonathan Schwartz envisages that within four to five years, customers will subscribe to software and get the hardware free as part of the deal. Schwartz acknowledged that Bill Gates had already floated such an idea.

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