26/1/96 19:08 Trends Online -- January 23, 1996

PC Magazine Analysis: Why Sun Wants Apple

Sun Microsystems bids for Apple

By noon today, Apple's shares had shot up 7 percent on news of an imminen t acquisition of the ailing computer firm by Sun Microsystems, Wall Street's latest hot shot. With Java frenzy reaching ne w heights every day, Sun has a dominant position in the Internet world. So what technology does Sun want from Apple?

"I'm not sure that Sun is after Apple's technology at all," says Rick Ayr e, PC Magazine's executive editor of technology. While a $4 billion stock swap, as reported today in the Wall Street Journal, seems l ike a high price to pay, Sun may be after much more than technology. "I think they're after the whole Apple user base--young peopl e, graphics artists--and the synergy between those users and the Internet," says Ayre. "This is constistent with Sun CEO Scott McN ealy's philosophy that says, "When you grow the Internet you grow our business."

If the sale goes through, it could also mean renewed competition for Micr osoft/Intel. "Apple users have seen themselves as holy warriors against the Microsoft/Intel alliance," says Ayre. "I think Sun i s trying to insure that there is still competition with Microsoft, especially in the schools and universities, where Apple has a strong pres ence."

Sun views Apple as a way to get into the home market and small business m arket. If Sun can leverage Apple's influence at the lower end and combine Sun and Apple influence in the middle range, with Sun tak ing over the high end, then Sun can influence the whole spectrum of computer users, explains Ayre.

The bottom line, according to Ayre: "The key for Sun is the Internet. Sun wants to make sure that the Microsoft/Intel alliance doesn't get control of the Internet."--Carol Levin