Sun outlook: gloomy

Sabeer Bhatia has a gloomy forecast for Sun. According to the US-based Hotmail co-founder, who was in New Zealand last week to speak at a project management conference, the server powerhouse is waning.

Sabeer Bhatia (pictured) has a gloomy forecast for Sun.

According to the US-based Hotmail co-founder, who was in New Zealand last week to speak at a project management conference, the server powerhouse is waning.

“Sun is in a real dilemma. It has about $US6 billion in cash but its telco market has melted, the dot-com market has crashed and its heels are being chewed by stable versions of Linux.”

Bhatia, who was propelled into the multimillionaire ranks when Hotmail was sold to Microsoft, doesn’t write Sun off completely but believes its future growth will be constrained. Where it will continue to make a living is in the high-end server market of financial institutions, for example, where its mainframe-class systems are essential for handling massive databases.

Aside from delivering his view of IT’s future to project managers, Bhatia was also keen to see what possibilities exist here for his latest venture. Navin Communications, in which he initially was an investor but which he has taken the reins of since it ran into trouble a year ago, provides “dynamic voice messaging”.

By the end of the year he hopes to have a million users in India for one of its services, a voice messaging system for prepaid cellular phone subscribers.

He sees another of Navin’s services — a voice equivalent of SMS — as having potential in New Zealand.

“It’s active voice messaging,” Bhatia says, describing it as useful when a caller wants to get across more information than can readily be imparted in a text message.

It also bridges the messaging gap between cellular and landline connections, since it allows callers to leave messages for either kind of number.

He hoped to make contact with New Zealand phone companies while in the country to sound out their interest in the service, which is based on the same store and forward concept as email. Establishing the service in New Zealand would require installation of “a bank of Linux and NT servers”.

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