Poor awareness is hurting Sun

Sun Microsystems yesterday admitted that IT buyers' lack of awareness of the company was potentially hurting sales.

"We do brand awareness studies and we come out abysmally," said David Douglas, director of workgroup server marketing at Sun. "People who you'd hope would think about us, [when making purchasing decisions] don't. People think we just do Unix workstations. The situation has improved with Java, but it's still a problem."

Douglas remains confident however that Sun can build its market share in several areas, including two-CPU and four-CPU servers. The company plans to release new models over the next two quarters.

"The growth will come in the $10,000-25,000 (£6,000-15,000) system space," Douglas said. "Where we're really strong is in intranet infrastructure, database and mail servers. Our number one partner is probably Oracle and we've been doing a lot of work with SAP. The big, serious applications are beginning to trickle down. Almost every company is ratcheting down to SAP, PeopleSoft or Oracle."

Douglas said he doesn't expect Windows NT Server to have a significant negative effect on Sun's business in the near-term. "NT 5.0 probably won't roll out this year and then there are year 2000 problems and the requirement for transitioning the huge amounts of infrastructure NT demands. Nobody can hire enough technical people anyway."