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Ex-Sun exec to launch new company

Marco Boerries, who developed Sun Microsystems' StarOffice office suite, is set to unveil his new venture at CeBit.

Marco Boerries, who developed Sun Microsystems' StarOffice office suite, is set to unveil his new venture at CeBit on Tuesday.

Boerries' new company, VerdiSoft, will create software called CrossPoint Server, which will let service providers, such as cable or wireless phone companies, manage and send data to a variety of devices. Boerries will demonstrate the software and some of its applications in a presentation at CeBit in Hannover, Germany, the company said.

CrossPoint Server is due in the second quarter of this year. Because it will interface with devices using XML and Java, the software will eventually be able to work with a large range of devices, including microprocessors in an automobile or washing machine, handheld computers, and automated teller machines.

"Yes it's ambitious, but doing an office suite was ambitious as well," Boerries said.

The premise behind the company is that managing the growing number of microprocessor-based devices is an increasing headache and a customer-service nightmare for administrators and service providers.

For example, if the operating system on a particular brand of mobile phones needs to be upgraded, the wireless company has to do it on a customer-by-customer basis, usually after the customer complains. And people who replace their phones typically have to reprogram all of their preferences, such as ring-tone and address book information, into their new phones.

VerdiSoft said its software will help eliminate some of those problems. Not only will it allow administrators to automatically update operating systems and applications, but it will let phone users save preference information on a network and transfer it automatically to other devices.

Companies such as FusionOne already allow consumers to send address-book information and data across different mobile devices. CrossPoint Server will work with a much broader array of devices and types of data, Boerries said.

"We're solving problems that haven't been solved before," he said.

The company will initially install its software on Solaris servers running an Oracle database and a BEA application server, Boerries said. Because the software is built on Sun Microsystems' Java 2 Enterprise Edition, the software will eventually be able to run on a variety of other systems, including IBM's AIX-based servers.

Aside from targeting wireless service providers and broadband Internet service providers as customers, Boerries said the company will eventually aim for companies, such as Federal Express or UPS, that need to manage the mobile devices that their employees use out in the field, he said.

Although VerdiSoft will help companies deploy its software, it will focus on developing and selling CrossPoint Server instead of focusing on professional services, Boerries said. He declined to say what the company will charge for the software.

Boerries left Sun in January 2001 after heading the company's application software division. Boerries joined Sun in 1999 after the computing giant bought StarDivision, Boerries' company that made StarOffice.

Boerries launched VerdiSoft in August and has funded the company with $8 million of his own money. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company has about 40 employees.