Chief executives, like politicians, never like to say "never". But when it comes to Sun Microsystems using either Intel processors or the Microsoft Windows operating system, CEO Scott McNealy has always been pretty clear: never means never.
Or it did until recently. According to rumours and some printed press reports in the US – including in the usually reliable InfoWorld – Sun is about to start supplying systems based on Intel processors. An announcement is expected in August, says InfoWorld.
If this is true, it would amount to a momentous U-turn for Sun. McNealy has always been vociferous in his criticism of rival companies – especially HP, Compaq and Dell – for their reliance on technology from Intel and Microsoft. The consequence, he says, is that they are forced to compete purely on price and logistics.
InfoWorld's story says that Sun will introduce a general purpose server, codenamed Big Bear, which will use Intel processors running either Linux or Sun's Solaris version of Unix. There is no question of Sun reselling or supporting Windows, but if Sun gives Solaris users the option to move to Intel-based servers, they might just as well buy from Dell or HP.