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Sun sets sights on Waveset buyout

The company says it's acquiring the security software maker, whose technology it plans to use for managing verification data in a number of products including radio frequency identity tags.

Sun Microsystems announced Tuesday that it agreed to acquire privately held Waveset Technologies, a maker of security software, in an all-cash transaction.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Waveset is a provider of so-called identity management software, applications used to manage access to corporate computers systems and data. Server maker Sun said it plans to use Waveset's technology to expand its systems' security capabilities and manage identity information across a number of devices, including radio frequency identity (RFID) tags.

Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president of software at Sun, said that Waveset's technology would be folded into a large proportion of his company's products including its own identity management package.

"We're increasingly seeing dissolution between extranets and intranets, and there is a need to identify everyone and everything on the network and provide access," Schwartz said. "(Currently) there is a crude form of hand-tooled provisioning out there, and there is a need to better automate this process."

Waveset President Mark McClain echoed those sentiments and said he believes his company's technology can bolster Sun's ability to develop identification management technology across its product lines.

Schwartz pointed to RFID as an emerging technology that would only exacerbate the demand for new identity management tools. RFID chips carry descriptive information, most frequently regarding products to which they're attached. This data can be read by a number of different devices--including handheld computers or sensors located in a warehouse--and promises to help businesses streamline processes such as inventory management. Sun is among the companies currently developing technology to collect, process and store data generated by RFID applications.

Sun said it plans to add Waveset's security technology to a number of products.

The executives said they expect that "a preponderance" of Waveset's employees would join Sun as a result of the merger. Sun said it expects the acquisition to close during the second quarter of its 2004 fiscal year, ending Dec. 28, 2003.