Sun baits HP with wooden cutout

Sun has its fair share of cutups. Now they've been joined by a cutout.

In a stunt that appears to be part PR, part prank, and part pestering, Sun has secured a wooden cutout of HP founders William Hewlett and David Packard for $6,000, boasts Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz in his blog. Since acquiring the life-size portrait, Sun has set up various photo-ops with it, bedecking the duo in pro-Sun and Solaris paraphernalia.

Therein lies the prank and the pestering of the stunt. The PR emerges in Schwartz's touting of Solaris in his post. "With nearly 25% of Solaris downloads requested on to HP's servers, we know their customers really want the partnership, and we're happy to oblige," he writes.

"To warn you in advance, Bill and Dave have both indicated a strong interest in learning more about Sun and the Solaris platform, so stay tuned," he continues.

The wooden dual portrait, by the way, was part of a cross-country art project called "Pioneers Hitchhiking in the Valley of Heart's Delight."

HP was given right of first refusal to purchase the portrait of its esteemed founders, but the company declined. In his own blog, HP Vice President of Global Marketing Strategy and Excellence Eric Kintz returns Schwartz's volley, seemingly unimpressed by, or perhaps even sour on, Sun's "nice stunt." "I never met Bill or Dave, but I bet neither of them would have approved paying thousands for representations of themselves," he writes.

Kintz also made a point of addressing Schwartz's claims about the popularity of Solaris on HP servers by pointing to an HP-written summation of a 2006 IDC report. As far as I can tell, nothing there contradicts Schwartz's assertions of Solaris being downloaded to 25 percent of all HP servers. The report does say that "HP is #1 in high-end Unix server revenue with a 48.3% market share worldwide. IBM is #2 with 20.7% and Sun is #3 with 14.0%."

As for the fate of Hewlett and Packard: Sun says it will donate the piece to the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.