Update: Sun, Microsoft to detail interoperability in October

Focus is expected to be on Web and directory services

Sun Microsystems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. next month plan to provide more details on work they are doing to make their products interoperable, a Sun executive said Monday.

The announcement will focus on their work regarding interoperability in the Web services and directory services area, said Mark McClain, vice president of software marketing at Sun, during a meeting with press and analysts at Sun's offices in Burlington, Massachusetts.

An October announcement means a slight delay for details on the interoperability work. Sun Chief Executive Officer Scott McNealy said in late June at the company's JavaOne conference that Sun and Microsoft would detail their initial collaborative work during the U.S. summer, which ends in September.

"We're going to miss that summer target," a Sun spokeswoman acknowledged. "As happens when large organizations are working together, things take a bit longer."

When the announcement is made, however, Sun and Microsoft will have a demonstration of interoperability between their technologies, the spokeswoman said. "We want to make sure that it is a solid announcement and that we can show our customers how we can work together. ... The goal is to have an event and to demonstrate interoperability in some capacity."

The spokeswoman could not specify what would be demonstrated but said it would most likely be in the areas of directory services and single-sign-on technology.

Sun and Microsoft started work on interoperability as part of a broad settlement and cooperation agreement between the companies that was announced in April. Executives from Sun and Microsoft have repeatedly said that users are clamoring for interoperability between Sun's Unix and Java environments and Microsoft's Windows and .Net.

As part of the April deal, Microsoft agreed to pay Sun $700 million to resolve all pending antitrust issues and $900 million to resolve all patent issues. The settlement ended a bitter legal dispute between the rivals that started in 1997.

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