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Table: Sun, the Software Company


Sun Microsystems is banking on software to help boost its outlook. But it will be a tough climb. Analysts estimate that software accounts for only 5% of Sun's $12.4 billion in annual revenues. Here are its offerings and their pros and cons:

JAVA

Sun's programming language is used to create software--much like an alphabet is used to create a book.

HOW IT STACKS UP

Most business-software makers use Java. Sun doesn't make much money directly off Java, but execs say that more than 90% of Sun's hardware sales are related to software built with Java.

SOLARIS

Sun's operating system is the market leader among computer servers that run Unix, with a 33.6% share.

HOW IT STACKS UP

The Unix market is sluggish, with sales down 24% in the last year. Sun server revenues in the first quarter were $1.58 billion, off 23% year-over-year. Yet sales of servers running Microsoft's Windows 2000 fell 9%, and the free Linux OS fell 4%.

SUN ONE APPLICATION SERVER

Sun is focusing on infrastructure software. Most important is the Sun ONE Application Server, which directs data for big e-business systems and Web sites.

HOW IT STACKS UP

Three years ago, Sun ruled the application-server roost. Now it's a distant third, with a 12% share of the $2 billion market, behind BEA and IBM. Sun is trying to regain ground by giving away a low-end applications server with the Solaris operating system. That should help it gain entree into more corporate accounts.


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