Sun VP Fowler talks about 'classic' rival IBM

John Fowler, the company's executive vice president, talks about IBM as a competitor in the wake of reported merger talks with Big Blue.

In the wake of reported merger talks with IBM, Sun Microsystems executive vice president John Fowler talked about Big Blue as a rival.

Sun Microsystems executive vice president John Fowler
Sun Microsystems executive vice president John Fowler Sun Microsystems

Fowler, in a phone interview Friday, discussed IBM as a competitor in the server computer market and the competitive differences between Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.

"IBM is obviously a classic competition space where we bring to bear all of our technology innovation," Fowler said. "In this particular case, how we've incorporated and done networking technology, how we've incorporated and done flash (memory). The fact that we have an open operating system that runs across our RISC platforms and our x86 platforms and that we have an open storage offering on the 7000," he said.

Fowler continued, "Those are all great discussions to go have with IBM customers. Those are all things that IBM just doesn't have and represent a significant amount of value."

In a question about comparing IBM--which also offers a RISC architecture server platform (PowerPC) as well Intel and AMD--to other competitors like Hewlett-Packard and Dell, Fowler said: "They (IBM) are more similar (to Sun) than the others and interested in more of the same things."

And how does Sun compete with larger rivals? "We have for decades now innovated in a marketplace where companies like HP and IBM have been consistently bigger than us. What we do is incorporate new technologies or invent new technologies more quickly," he said.

Fowler also spoke of some of the differences between Sun offerings on AMD and Intel platforms. He began by saying that a recent Intel Nehalem server chip announcement covers only two-socket (a socket accommodates one processor) servers and that Intel's product is an "entry level" product. "It's a solid product but it really applies to the volume entry-level systems in the world today," he said.

Fowler continued: "Obviously, AMD and (Sun) SPARC cover a much broader range of application scale. In AMD's case, extending up to eight-socket servers and in SPARC's case up to 64-socket servers," he said.

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