Sun opens new government office

Sun Microsystems Inc. today announced the creation of a new global government division and introduced an innovative new pricing model for government agencies.

Clark Masters will lead the division as executive vice president and serve as president of Sun's federal solutions group. The global government division will be run out of San Diego and Vienna, Va.

Previously, Masters served as executive vice president of Sun's enterprise systems products group, which includes the company's high-performance technical computing solutions. He has 20 years of experience in the public sector, particularly with defense and intelligence agencies.

Masters said Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun "over-rotated" in the late 1990s toward Internet service providers and dot-coms. The new government group signals the company's goal of realigning its government efforts under one umbrella and elevating its importance in Sun's overall strategy, he said.

"Government sales present huge opportunities for Sun with increased spending worldwide on security solutions, e-government projects and new compliance requirements," Masters said.

Sun has a long history of success in military and intelligence agencies based on its reputation for building secure systems. The company's Trusted Solaris operating system offers a variety of advanced security features and Common Criteria EAL4 certification.

Masters said Sun will boost its participation in government research and development efforts. The company is working on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's High Productivity Computing Systems program.

Keeping in line with its reputation for changing how technology companies charge for software, Sun is also pushing per-citizen pricing of its enterprise solutions. Masters said the initiative is designed to serve less-developed countries, but eventually he'd like to see all government agencies adopt Sun software under the system.

Under a special licensing deal, federal, state and local governments of developing countries can buy the Sun Java Enterprise System for up to $1.95 per citizen per year. According to Sun, the number of citizens in the respective government entity and the stage of development of the country as defined by the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs classification will determine its eligibility.

Masters said Sun intends to offer the plan to other governments and their agencies in the future. The company has already made "aggressive proposals" to several U.S. government agencies, he said.

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