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Software Truce Will 'Grow The Market'

Business-technology managers were surprised"and pleased"when Sun Microsystems and Microsoft ended their long-running feud earlier this month. Now they're waiting to see whether the two companies can actually collaborate to produce products that work together better.

Sun president Jonathan Schwartz says the first fruits of the new relationship will begin to appear in the coming months. Sun plans to outline the benefits for customers when it makes its next product announcements in June in Shanghai, China. Sun needs to move quickly after warning of a third-quarter loss in the $750 million to $810 million range, Schwartz told InformationWeek.

By ending hostilities and achieving greater interoperability between their products, Sun and Microsoft will "grow the market for both companies," Schwartz says. If their software works well together, customers will be able to use any platform to build Web services.

The two companies offered few details on their product plans when announcing the truce. But work done under the alliance could plunge deeper into their respective product lines than previously disclosed, Schwartz says.

Still, there are no guarantees that deep-seated suspicion between the two won't resurface, analysts warn. And a successful relationship could produce combined proprietary products that further lock customers into the vendors' technologies, warns Dana Gardner, an analyst with the Yankee Group research firm.

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