Sun Microsystems, Inc. announced the new Sun (SM) Partner Advantage Program, replacing the existing iForce (SM) program. The first phase focuses on Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and dramatically enhances Sun’s current offerings in order to ease working with Sun and expand business opportunities. Soon to follow will be rollouts of programs aimed at resellers, system integrators and OEMs under the same overall umbrella name.

Based on a strong record of ISV programs such as Sun’s historic Catalyst and iForce programs, the new Sun Partner Advantage Program is aimed at creating momentum with the ISV community first. The Sun Partner Advantage Program for ISVs delivers quick access to the resources needed to build solutions based on Sun technologies. ISVs can take advantage of over 20 new education, technology, marketing and sales offerings for their business-specific needs. The initial implementation delivers a comprehensive approach to building, marketing and selling applications for the industry-leading Solaris(TM) 10 Operating System and other Sun platforms — helping partners to accelerate time-to-market, expand sales opportunities and increase business growth.

“We recently unveiled new branding that signals our renewed focus on Sun’s core values,” said Stephen Borcich, Sun’s Vice President, Partner Marketing. “Now we’re taking the next step and introducing the Sun Partner Advantage Program, which underscores our commitment to the ISV community by providing them with the resources they need to develop and deploy successful solutions on the Sun platform.”

Designed from the ground up and embracing partners’ direct feedback, the Sun Partner Advantage Program for ISVs leverages a simple, flexible architecture with tiered participation that rewards increased partner commitment with greater investment from Sun. The dynamic program delivers a wide array of base-level offerings, which can be supplemented with higher levels of ISV investment, as well as nomination- and technology-based initiatives, helping ISVs to take advantage of Sun’s continuing technological advances and innovative business models.

In order to extend the program to industry-specific ISVs, Sun will unveil the Sun Partner Advantage Program’s vertical-industry track, Industry Advantage Track, which will be designed to provide extensive technology, marketing and sales engagement offerings to strategic vertical-industry ISVs — delivering solutions for specific industry needs. This track will allow a few select ISVs to enter the Sun Industry Advantage Program at a higher level of benefits and provides additional access to marketing tools, Sun’s fully trained industry sales organization, Industry Customer Excellence Centers, and development support. The Industry Advantage Track will be rolled out later this year.

“From its beginning, Sun has focused on relentless innovation and delivering technologies that ignited the computing industry,” said Janet Waxman, Vice President at IDC Research. “Sun has taken that same innovative spirit and applied it to the development of the Sun Partner Advantage Program, reinvigorating these partnerships.”

“Oracle and Sun’s long-standing relationship has allowed us to deliver high-quality, innovative products and services that help meet the demanding needs of our mutual customers,” said Doug Kennedy, Vice President, Worldwide Alliances and Channels, Oracle Corporation. “The dramatic improvements to Sun’s partner program give Oracle additional tools and resources that will facilitate the development and marketing of our joint solutions.”

Sun delivers on its vision of creating value and innovation through sharing by providing ISVs with offerings valued at over $250,000 (program offerings and value may differ by country) for an annual cost of $495, waived for one year from program inception on September 7, 2005.