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Sun Rebrands Software Products

Sun Microsystems Inc. is rebranding its major software products under the Sun Open Net Environment or Sun ONE name.

When Sun first introduced the Sun ONE initiative in February 2001, it was widely regarded as the Unix powerhouse's answer to Microsoft Corp's .NET initiative. Like .NET, Sun ONE uses the nascent XML standard as a means for server- and client-side applications to communicate with one another. Sun ONE differs from .NET in one major respect -- it uses the Java development platform.

Microsoft promotes its competing C# as the main development language for .NET, but Microsoft supports a raft of third-party languages as well. Java support in .NET is glaringly absent.

Sun announced this week that it would consolidate many of its software brands, including the iPlanet application server and the StarOffice productivity suite, under the Sun ONE brand name to raise awareness of Sun's software products. The announcement coincides with a new print and broadcast media campaign promoting the Sun ONE initiative.

"It made sense to coalesce all these brands under the Sun ONE brand," says Sanjay Sarathy, director of product marketing for developer enablement for Sun ONE. He believes it will simplify brand awareness among technologists and other, who may have been confused with different product lines such as iPlanet and Forte.

One reason Sun was able to consolidate its major brands, according to Sarathy, is that its cross-licensing agreement with AOL-Time Warner expired, leaving the product solely in Sun's hands. With no ties binding the product, the company is now free to call it whatever it wants. The iPlanet Web Server is now the Sun ONE Web Server, the iPlanet Portal Server is now Sun ONE Portal Server, and the iPlanet Application Server is now Sun ONE Application Server.

The application server in particular could use more exposure. Although Sun developed the J2EE standard, which is quickly becoming the standard for middleware, Sun's own application server lags in the market. BEA and IBM lead the market, while Sun, Oracle, and HP's Bluestone division battle it out for third place.

Microsoft's aggressive promotion of .NET on TV and in print has established it in the minds of many as a one-stop-shop for enterprise integration. The Sun ONE name may provide a similar idea for Sun's previously disparate software products. "Part of the compelling story behind Sun ONE... is it provides an overall platform for integration," Sarathy says.

Other products rebranded this week include the Forte IDE, the ChiliSoft ASP software, and the StarOffice Office Suite. Forte becomes Sun ONE Studio, ChiliSoft becomes Sun ONE Active Server Pages, and StarOffice will be branded under the Sun ONE name.