1 September 2003 Sun Microsystems’ chief technology officer Greg Papadopoulos has dismissed suggestions that computer hardware has become “commodity” and that “proprietary” means “more expensive”.
“People say I just bought an Intel server that cost half that of my Sun server. But what they don’t say is that their Sun server is four years old,” said Papadopoulos in an interview with the Financial Times.
Sun has been hit by the perception that the server and workstation market is moving inexorably in the direction of Intel-based machines running either Microsoft Windows or Linux. Many believe that Sun will be marginalised as a result.
Although Sun has responded by belatedly embracing Linux, Papadopoulos insists that development of the Sparc microprocessor will continue.
His plan for Sparc is to turn it into a “server on a chip”, with many features and technologies that might in the past have been included in software or system boards being integrated onto the same silicon as the microprocessor.
With Intel struggling to develop Itanium, its ambitious 64-bit rival to Sparc, Sun’s position as a vendor of high-end machines is still secure from an onslaught from the microprocessor giant — at least, for the next one or two years.