'

Sun, Vignette strengthen e-commerce ties

Building off a base of 400 shared customers, Sun Microsystems Inc. and Vignette Corp.

Building off a base of 400 shared customers, Sun Microsystems Inc. and Vignette Corp. are expanding their relationship to include joint development of e-business solutions.

The two companies today announced a deal to expand their collaboration beyond sales and marketing agreements to include joint development and better integration of certain product lines.

The goal is to help customers build scalable and flexible e-commerce, personalization and content management solutions for a variety of devices, with the deal targeting the wireless and telecommunications markets specifically.

Pat Sueltz, executive vice president of Sun's Software Systems Group, in Palo Alto, Calif., said both companies have customers demanding new solutions based on open standards and tailored for emerging technologies. Those solutions are "critical to their success," Sueltz said.

"Clearly broadband is coming up on the radar screen increasingly for our customers," added Mike Vollman, senior vice president of sales and services for Vignette, in Austin, Texas. Vollman said that while Vignette already has applications for wireless uses, Sun's backing will help make them more pervasive.

Avoiding 'one-off' development

The officials did not offer specifics about their wireless or broadband strategy, although they said they would try to provide robust solutions that avoid the need for "one-off" customized development. Sueltz said the agreement is still in its nascent stages.

As for other aspects of the agreement, Vignette's V/5 E-business solution will be incorporated into Sun's iForce Ready Centers in Menlo Park, Calif., Paris and Tokyo. Other solutions will be based on Sun Enterprise servers, the Solaris platform, Java 2 Enterprise Edition and Vignette's V/5.

The deal does not directly affect the iPlanet application server, but Vignette officials said they will continue to work with iPlanet as well. iPlanet is an alliance between Sun and Netscape Communications Corp.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and the officials declined to put a price tag on how much the alliance could generate in revenue, although Vollman said the market they are chasing is "clearly in the billions" of dollars.