Sun Says 2004 Was Banner Year For Channel Sales

This past year ended up being Sun Microsystems' year of the channel, which accounted for more than half of the vendor's overall revenue.

December 31, 2004

2 Min Read
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This past year ended up being Sun Microsystems' year of the channel.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based vendor closed the calendar year by saying that 54 percent of its overall revenue came through the channel during fiscal year 2004, which ended June 30. In the previous fiscal year, 47 percent of Sun's total sales came through resellers, according to Sun.

Sun executives attributed some of the indirect sales gain to the success of the vendor's iForce partner program, the Putting Partners First framework and the Sun Partner Connect ISV program. Executives also pointed to the buzz preceding the November arrival of Sun's Solaris 10 operating system.

"Sun's iForce priorities this year were to simplify the engagement process, help partners increase their margins and recognize partner investments in Sun's business," said Greg Stroud, vice president of iForce Partner Sales at Sun, in a statement. "Delivering on these priorities enabled our partners to create and deliver innovative solutions based on Sun technology."

Solution provider Atempo became an iForce member primarily to take advantage of Sun's iForce labs, according to John Meaney, vice president and general manager of U.S. and Asia-Pacific operations at the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company.Meaney said it's still too soon to tell, though, how much being an iForce partner has improved Atempo's bottom line. He said the solution provider, which has been an iForce partner for only approximately one month, is still learning about all of the benefits of the program.

"It's still pretty early. I don't doubt the program is a benefit. We just need to get better versed at steering our customers into their labs," Meaney said.

Marc Maselli, president and CEO of Back Bay Technologies, based in Needham, Mass., said the underlying message in Sun's increase in channel revenue is the vendor's awareness that it must change to more of a solution-oriented company.

"Sun has gotten better, but they are a box company and Solaris 10 is their most important product. They are not a solutions company. The fact that we are on Sun's National Council and we are not a MOCA or a GE Access--we are a vertically oriented solution company--shows Sun is beginning to get it. Sun knows they need to move from boxes to solutions and they are working with VARs like us to get there," said Maselli.

Sun said that iForce now has more than 700 members. Still, not all Sun resellers aim to join the program.Pete Parenti, CTO of Total Sanity Solutions, said the Oak Park, Ill.-based VAR used to sell more Sun products than it does now and, therefore, isn't considering becoming an iForce partner.

"We sold a lot of Sun to the financial industry for a while, but Linux has taken that whole ball of wax," Parenti said. "I see a lot more firms doing Linux for Web infrastructure than Sun."

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