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Sun Offers New Channel Incentives For Offering Java Enterprise System

As Sun Microsystems formally launches its Java Enterprise System this week at Sun Network in San Francisco, the vendor is backing up the channel with new compensation for reselling and implementing the product.

Sun is providing both front-end discounts and back-end rebates for solution providers that sell the Java Enterprise System and build solutions on top of the suite of Java-based software, said Gary Grimes, vice president of partner management sales at the company.

Solution providers will receive a fixed discount when they buy the Java Enterprise System, formerly code-named Project Orion, from Sun's distributors and then resell the suite to customers, Grimes said.

Sun also is offering to solution providers that have achieved certain competencies with Sun technology rebates based on a percentage of total sales of the product, he said.

There are two levels of rebates above the basic front-end discount all solution providers reselling the Java Enterprise System receive, said John Pearson, channel software programs manager at Sun.

Based on level of investment partners have made to receive training and certifications with Sun, solution providers can receive a rebate as a solutions level or an implementation/deployment level, he said.

Pearson would not disclose what percentage of sales solution providers that fall into one of these categories receive, but he said the implementation/deployment partners receive a higher level of rebate than solution partners.

Solution providers don't necessarily have to be certified on Sun products or go through training from Sun to receive the rebates, Pearson said. Demonstrating the competency required by Sun for one of the rebate levels--for example, showing expertise in providing Java application development on Sun's middleware--is enough to qualify for the appropriate rebate.

CRN previously reported that there was intense debate over how solution providers would receive discounts and incentives from Sun to sell the software suite.

Grimes said Sun and partners "had a fairly lengthy discussion" on how solution providers would receive compensation for selling and implementing what was then called Project Orion. Because partners polled were "split down the middle" of whether they wanted to receive either front-end discounts or rebates after the sale, Sun opted to do both.

Sun also is making sales of the Java Enterprise System a pure channel play for customers with less than 1,000 employees. (See story.)

"There are 5.5 million SMBs in the United States," Grimes said. "We're never going to hire the people we need [to reach] that market. We can't touch all of those customers."

Sun also is working with solution providers to sell the software suite to enterprise customers with more than 1,000 employees, though the vendor and/or Sun partners also can sell directly to those customers.

One key Sun partner has already inked a deal to sell the Java Enterprise System to World Book, the first sale for the software suite, Sun executives said Monday. Sun Elite iForce partner Dewpoint, Brighton, Mich., is building a solution on top of the Java Enterprise System for the Chicago-based provider of encyclopedias and other reference books.

Other Sun solution providers can begin taking orders for Sun's Java Enterprise System Tuesday, but the product will not ship until November in versions available for Solaris on Sparc and x86 hardware systems. A Linux version will be available early next year.

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