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SUN AIMS TO SEND MICROSOFT PACKING

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We're going to put Microsoft out of business.

That was the main message Sun Microsystems President Scott McNealy delivered in Utah last week to 850 Sun employees and supporters.The statement was made in the main ballroom at the Cliff Lodge at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort where Sun's subsidiary, SunSoft, held its annual Worldwide Training Event.

The five-day event served as a focal point for 500-plus SunSoft employees from around the world, more than 200 Sun computer resellers and other assorted Sun supporters and computer industry dignitaries.

During his 30-minute address to the attendees at the general session on Tuesday, McNealy explained that Sun's best hope for driving Microsoft out of business lies in Sun's support of "open" (vs. proprietary) software that, once written, can work on any hardware platform.

Driving this opportunity is SunSoft's hot new development environment called HotJava. As it was explained to me, HotJava allows a programmer to create a software program (known as an "applet") on one operating system and have it be immediately usable on any other system. Key to this object-oriented development environment is its ability to utilize the Internet as a communications ve-hi-cle.

Accordingly, Sun is contacting universities and inviting their computer programming students and faculty to create various software applications and applets with HotJava and to provide them to the public for free via the Internet.

Whether or not such a program will be successful remains to be seen, but it does portend a very interesting scenario for a dramatic change in the way software is created, marketed and sold.

Micron update

I had the opportunity recently to hear Micron Technology's vice president of corporate affairs, Kipp Bedard, speak at a monthly luncheon of the MountainWest Venture Group.

One interesting tidbit was his comment that Micron would not keep all of its research and development operations based in Boise, as they are today. In fact, he added, the microelectronics capabilities at Brigham Young University and the University of Utah were very attractive to Micron and strengthened the possibility that some level of Micron research and development may be based in the Beehive State in the future.

Another of Bedard's comments that caught my attention was his assertion that Micron may also look to Utah as a site for other manufactured products, specifically communications chips and flat-panel displays.

Finally, Bedard mentioned that Micron's subsidiary that manufactures personal computers would likely open an outlet near Lehi to sell PCs directly to the public.

Windows 95 fallout in Utah?

Now that Windows 95 has finally arrived, one of the big questions locally is how long it will take Novell to produce its own Windows 95-based suite.

Publicly, one senior executive has said it should be within 30 days of the actual Windows 95 ship date, which would make it September 23.

Other sources inside Novell claim that's being overly optimistic and that an end of the year ship date is more realistic.

Some national trade publications have noted Novell's (and Lotus') absence at the beginning of the Windows 95 dance and wondered if this isn't another stumble for both firms.