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Cell Phones Inspire Sun Desktop Strategy.

By Gavin Clarke

A cell-phone-like services model will underpin Sun Microsystems Inc's desktop strategy, as the company introduces yet more pricing tiers and Sim-based security.

Sun is considering a per-citizen price model for the Java Desktop System, due next month, providing governmental organizations with a low-cost desktop software stack they can, in turn, roll out to millions of individuals.

Per-citizen pricing could dip below $10 per individual based on volume and may factor in GDP, company senior vice president of software Jonathan Schwartz said yesterday. OEM pricing will be announced next month.

It will be possible, meanwhile, for the Java Desktop System to be recognized by Sim cards, supplied by telecoms operators and normally installed in cell phones.

Use of Sims will provide an authentication mechanism for activities like e-commerce with transactions showing up on people's phone bills, or e-mail to prevent people anonymously sending viruses, Schwartz said.

Sun plans to announce deals with carriers at next month's Network show in Berlin, Germany.

Overall, Sun's goal is to replicate in the PC world a service model currently found on carrier networks and handsets.

By pricing Java Desktop System below Microsoft Corp's combined stack of Windows operating system for desktops and Office, Sun believes it is providing a cost-effective platform for organizations to build out services to large numbers of end users.

Such services would also boot up without Microsoft's Windows branding.

On security, Sun is pushing the notion of a secure desktop, capitalizing on Microsoft's considerable misfortune with viruses and worms. Sim's provide multifactor authentication, meaning viruses are harder to distribute across cell phones.

"The only way to get a level of security in the PC work that eliminates viruses and spam is multifactor authentication," Schwartz said.

A Sim on a smart card would, theoretically, be swiped through a machine capable of reading the card. So far, Dell Computer Corp and Hewlett Packard Co ship systems with smart card readers. Schwartz noted PCs, generally, use USB ports that smart card readers can plug into.
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Publication:Computergram International
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 14, 2003
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