U.N. guides Sun software pricing in developing world

Sun Microsystems announced in Shanghai today that it would use United Nations economic data to set fees under a new population-based enterprise software licensing scheme aimed at developing countries.Laurie Wong, software business manager for Sun, said that the new licensing scheme would allow developing nations to pay between US$0.

Sun Microsystems announced in Shanghai today that it would use United Nations economic data to set fees under a new population-based enterprise software licensing scheme aimed at developing countries.

Laurie Wong, software business manager for Sun, said that the new licensing scheme would allow developing nations to pay between US$0.33 cents and $1.99 per citizen annually to rollout its Java Enterprise System software across their government organisations with impunity.

The exact license fee to be offered to any one country will be set, albeit indirectly, by the United Nations; fixed according to the international governing body's economic development and census data for developing countries.

The license fee will cover a Sun Microsystems software maintenance package that includes Level 3 technical support and patches.

"It's all about bringing less developed communities into the Internet age," said Wong.

It also appears to be about getting in on the bottom floor in developing countries like China, Thailand and India, which are embracing new technology at an impressive clip. Wong said there were no plans at present to offer a similar pricing model in developed nations like Australia.

"With developed nations it's very difficult because most governments have already purchased infrastructure for government departments that serve their citizens...where as for developing nations that don't have the infrastructure, it's a lot more attractive to implement the product," he said.

Sun claims that most developing nations will be better off under the per-citizen licensing model than the per-employee licensing model Sun began offering to all territorial governments six months ago.

Wong said the per-employee licensing model was poorly suited labour-intensive organisations with relatively few employees, pointing the example Australia Post where an estimated 75 percent of employees never touch a computer.

Based on that reasoning, Sun claims developing countries with large populations and relatively small IT organisations are better off under the per-citizen licensing scheme.

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