Sun creates new unit to target governments

Sun Microsystems Inc. has created a new unit to target government business and appointed one of its top executives to lead the group, it said Tuesday.

Sun’s new Global Government Office will be lead by Clark Masters, who most recently served as executive vice-president of Sun’s Enterprise Systems Products Group. Masters has been named executive vice-president of the new unit.

Masters is charged with increasing Sun’s role in government business through elevating the company’s secure network computing architectures and leading more research and development efforts to target the sector, Sun said.

The Global Government Office will focus on opportunities in areas such as security, e-government projects and new compliance requirements, with emphasis put on the company’s Trusted Solaris operating system, Sun said.

Creation of the new government office comes as Sun takes increasing aim at the lucrative public sector. As part of this effort, Sun announced earlier this year per-citizen pricing for federal, state and local governments.

The Santa Clara, Calif., company is not the only suitor knocking on governments’ doors, however, as competitors like Microsoft Corp. have also bolstered efforts to target the sector in recent months, in part prompted by continued cautious spending in the private sector.

Late last year, Microsoft began creating a new public sector organization charged with engaging and influencing governments’ technology buying decisions. The incentives for Sun and Microsoft are considerable given that the governments are often a country’s biggest technology user and client, analysts say.

Sun is hoping that increased investment in research and development projects like the one the company is already engaged in with the U.S.’ Defense Advanced Research Program Agency (DARPA) — to develop technology solutions for future Department of Defense needs — will also help it grow in its government business.