Sun reseller contacts

I recently asked readers to contact their local Sun resellers, ask about Sun Rays and Coolthreads products for their own use, and then tell me how the resellers reacted. I got some red hot email out of this - but of course this kind of thing self selects for negativity, and I got nothing that didn't reinforce perceptions I already held.

Last week a guy signing himself as "Jon" left this comment on Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz's weblog

I wish you guys could market better.

I'm working hard to revise the technology stack here in my company. That means using more Java, Glassfish, MySQL and Solaris, and maybe someday your servers too. I just wish I didn't have to swim so hard upstream. A little more marketing and exposure to the decision makers would make my job a little easier. I'm in middle management.

I love your products.
I love your culture.
I hate your marketing to date.

As for this MS deal, at least you're not standing still, you're trying new things. Points for that.

Sun, meanwhile, announced more layoffs.

If Mr. Schwartz really wants to fix Sun, he should fix marketing - and hire more customer support engineers.

Ever recommend Sun against an entrenched IT management position that only IBM makes real computers or top management's profound belief that their kids could run the business on $199 PCs bought in drugstores? I have, and it's no fun.

Ever try to buy from Sun against Sun's own marketing channels? Let me summarize some reseller contacts I've heard about recently:

  1. I called Sun to ask about Sun Rays and CMT servers for us. They wanted to know how to spell my company name and said someone would call me. That was two weeks ago.

  2. I called my CDW guy, he said Sun Rays are dumb terminals for Unix - and said he could sell me "real" HP desktops for less money.

  3. I called the 800 number on their website, that got me an order desk which wanted my Sun customer id so I looked up the number for their office in Toronto and the lady there gave me the 800 number to call.

  4. They referred me to a reseller here in Birmingham, but the fellow I spoke to said they sell medical library software for Windows, not anybody's hardware.

So what's wrong? If you don't budget hardware in millions, Sun can't be bothered to sell to you - and expecting resellers whose bread and butter is Wintel sales to sell Sun is like expecting pirranas to set up little vegetarian falafel stands along the sunnier bits of Amazonian reef.

Here's what international reseller CDW says about two Sun Ray products:

Sun Ray 270 Virtual Display Client Au1550 500 MHz 17"

All-in-one, 1 x Au1550 500 MHz, RAM 16 MB, HD: none, Monitor : 17" TFT

MFG #: NTC-20Z-00 | CDW #: 1198482

$626.99

See All: Desktop Computers

----

Sun Ray 2FS

DTS - - no HDD - Monitor : none

MFG #: NTC-15Z-00 | CDW #: 980315

See All: Internet Server Software

$469.99

Clearly, getting CDW on board was a marketing coup for someone - I mean, who wouldn't want a 16MB, 500Mhz, desktop computer with no hard drive for only $626.99?

If you like living dangerously you can look up CDW's SPARC offerings under "RISC" - and the listing for the T5220 is typical in that they not only explicitly suggest that you buy the "Sun XVR 300 - graphics adapter - 128 MB - $299.99" with the machine, but highlight their commitment and expertise with this deeply caring note on the details page :

Specifications are provided by the manufacturer. Refer to the manufacturer for an explanation of the print speed and other ratings.

Know what the real bottom line on Sun's sales organization is? It's too much like DEC's was in the late eighties - meaning that people fight to buy Sun for the technology, and despite Sun Marketing's best efforts to keep ordinary customers from wasting their time.