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Sun and Dell say “We’re Listening”

Blogs by Sun Microsystems CEO and Dell’s Direct2Dell say the collaboration between the two companies is a result of listening to the need of their customers

What happens when the third and fourth largest sellers of computer servers join hands? Some observers have called the partnership between once long-time rivals Sun Microsystems and Dell Inc, announced last week during the Oracle OpenWorld 2007 conference in San Francisco as crazy. Others have questioned the multi-year deal in which Dell has agreed to sell Sun’s Solaris operating system with much skepticism. 

CEOs of both the companies, Sun’s Jonathan Schwartz and Dell’s Michael Dell, on Wednesday, together announced the deal at the conference that witnessed nearly 50,000 people. In his blog titled “Solaris and Dell… and Virtualization, Of Course,” Schwartz has put the reason for the partnership in proper perspective saying that the long-term target for both companies is the international or global market. He writes: “Because locking Solaris to Sun would be like a wireless carrier selling you a phone that didn’t roam – or an automobile manufacturer mandating you buy their gas after you’ve bought their car. There’s probably a market for both, it’s just smaller than the market we’re after – the global market. In which customers value choice.” 

With economic globalization throwing up more challenges and competitors, along with increased choice for customers, some analysts feel that the cooperative effort of the two companies has come at the most opportune period and will enable them gain additional share of the server market. The deal though came about, significantly, due to the fact that both the companies spend considerable time in studying and listening to the needs of their customers as Schwartz puts it: “we’ve both heard from a ton of customers that they’re running Solaris (and Sun Software, broadly) on Dell systems – and they’d like us to work together to make the experience a seamless one.”

Dell too has emphasized the importance it now places on the demands from customers. “Over the past year we have demonstrated our commitment to delivering more customer choice and listening to customers,” it said in its company blog Direct2Dell. Dell made its message ring out even louder, when Michael Dell presented a Dell t-shirt to Schwartz during the announcement of the deal that said “We’re Listening.”

What’s noteworthy of the two is that beside their renewed hunger to gain more penetration in the global market, they have sought to simplify deployment and maintaining of their systems, have vowed to go green and have developed even stronger communities. Dell has planned a facelift for both Direct2Dell and Ideastorm where its global customers are allowed to share ideas and collaborate with each other.

Edelman’s Next Generation CEOs

The blog “The Next Generation CEOs” by Richard Edelman, president and CEO of the leading public relations company Edelman provides an interesting view of CEOs from emerging economies India and China as well as those from Dubai, Russia and Israel, that is, if you ignore the blogger’s disclosure that the companies and the CEOs are Edelman’s clients.

Two among the most significant aspects that Edelman found in these CEOs are: 1) “They recognize that business may be the most effective and fastest way to make change in a country. They follow the same theory of GE’s Eco-Imagination, where “Green is Green,” with business needing to make money while incorporating societal benefits”; and 2) They recognize the need to earn a license to operate – to earn the trust of all stakeholders –particularly in the US and Europe.”

Probably, it is only in China, that Edelman came across a CEO telling him that it is advisable for a CEO to keep a low profile “because tall flowers get cut down in China.”


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