Sun adds Yahoo content to portal

Sun Microsystems Inc. partnering with Yahoo Inc. to integrate My Yahoo Enterprise Edition into Sun ONE (Open Net Environment) Portal Server, the companies said Monday, offering corporate users the breadth of Yahoo’s personalized content and services without going outside of the company portal.

Beginning in the third quarter of this year, Sun ONE Portal Server will feature access to Yahoo’s more than 2,000 content sources from 25 countries and in 13 languages. The content will appear in “portlets,” or boxes that act as gateways to aggregated content and services, which can be tailored to fit the roles of the individual corporate users depending on their job requirements, the companies said.

Adding personalized, external content to a corporate portal from a familiar brand such as Yahoo may help boost portal adoption, which is an important factor in achieving ROI, according to the Yankee Group senior analyst Rob Perry, in Boston.

“To have the portal become an employee’s main destination, companies need to recognize that employees want news, sports scores, and stock quotes. Connecting these external information sources [offers] a better chance to make corporate portal the destination of choice for employees,” he said.

Sun ONE Portal Server, which until recently was called the iPlanet Portal Server, offers e-commerce portal deployment, membership management, personalization, security, integration, and search services. With the integration of Yahoo’s content offerings, users can customize their portals with, for example, industry-related news and stock and financial information in their local languages.

“Customers were asking us to deliver the kind of portal that combines aggregated, syndicated content with applications and services so that the portal becomes a one-stop shop,” said Adam Abramski, Sun ONE Portal Server product marketing manager.

One of the factors affecting Sun’s decision to partner with Yahoo is that consumers are already familiar with the kind of content and services that the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Internet mammoth supplies, Abramski added. Sun ONE Portal Server customers will be offered a free 120-day trial of Yahoo Enterprise Edition, the companies said. If users decide to keep the Yahoo offerings, they can sign up for a per-user subscription plan. Although exact pricing for the integrated Yahoo Enterprise Edition was not revealed, David Gee, vice president of Yahoo Portal Solutions, said that overall fees for companies could range in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

For now Sun, in Palo Alto, Calif., plans to integrate Yahoo Enterprise Edition into the 6.0 version of Sun ONE Portal Solution, due out in early June, Abramski said. But he added that the company is thinking of integrating it into the current 3.0 version as well.

Scarlet Pruitt is a U.S. Correspondent for the IDG News Service.