Sun SET on the horizon

Sun and GlobeSet will deliver electronic commerce packages using Java and the emerging SET standard for secure transactions.

Sun Microsystems (SUNW) announced an agreement with GlobeSet to deliver electronic commerce packages using the Java programming language and the emerging SET standard for secure transactions.

The move marks Sun's first foray into secure electronic transactions on the Internet. SET is composed of a series of standards that allow consumers to purchase products through the Net without fear of security breaches.

Under the two-year agreement, announced at this week's Internet Commerce Expo in Los Angeles, Java-based electronic commerce software from GlobeSet will be sold with Sun hardware and the Solaris operating system.

The company, like others in the Internet commerce market, believes that its server hardware and software are tough enough to meet the industrial-strength requirements of online commerce ventures. "I think we have a definite advantage in the marketplace," said Surya Josyula, market development manager for electronic commerce at Sun.

As part of Java's evolution, Sun has issued a series of application programming interfaces to facilitate use of the language for transaction tasks. A Java-based interface will likely result from the SET-based agreement, according to Sun.

Other standards efforts in the Internet commerce area are underway, but SET differentiates itself by addressing the "trust" relationships of buyers, merchants, and financial institutions. The other e-commerce protocols address mainly technical and formatting issues, the traditional stuff of technical standards.