Telstra still key to Sun in Australia

Summary:Execs say they're happy with Sun Microsystems' performance in Australia, but much of that can still be attributed to a single customer -- Telstra.

Execs say they're happy with Sun Microsystems' performance in Australia, but much of that can still be attributed to a single customer -- Telstra.

Australia represents Sun's third-largest market in the Asia-Pacific region, after Japan and China. China is growing rapidly and fourth place Korea has almost outstripped Australia due to rapid expansion, but Australia is growing relatively slowly, regional vice-president Denis Heraud told ZDNet.com.au.

However, the region as a whole continues to grow, Heraud notes: "We have seen all the countries across Asia-Pacific growing faster than the IT market."

In Australia, an ongoing series of deals with Telstra during its network upgrades have been critical for Sun, Heraud said. Sun's partnership with Ericsson helped it gain services and equipment deals during Telstra's rollout of the Next G network.

Telstra's desire to make more money from content had also increased its IT spend, Heraud said. "For Sun, this represents a huge opportunity."

Other local wins for the company have included Macquarie Telecom's transition of its datacentre from an HP platform to Sun's multi-threaded, low-energy Niagara platform.

The lack of growth in other areas is reflected in the number of local developers aligned with the company. Just 40,000 of the 1.6 million regional members of Sun's developer network come from Australia and New Zealand.

Maintaining staff numbers remains a key problem as Sun attempts to generate more revenue from services. "What keeps me awake at night is our ability to keep the right talent on the market," Heraud said. "Retention is also a challenge."

Disclosure: Angus Kidman travelled to California as a guest of Sun.

Topics: Telcos, Government : AU, Mobility, Oracle, Telstra

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