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Sun reveals equity partner plans

Sun Microsystems to launch equity program in emerging markets through partner franchise model

Sun Microsystems has told channel partners of its ambitious plans to launch a franchise-style initiative that will allow it to establish a presence in emerging countries in the region. The vendor believes that the Sun Equity Partner Programme will give it the platform to elevate its brand in Middle East markets where it doesn't have a local sales office.

According to Sun channel executives, the equity programme is modelled on a franchising concept, with the partner effectively managing a Sun branded office and retaining a majority stake.

"We took the decision a few months ago to implement a very innovative model in some of the emerging countries," explained Koby Lif, PSO and industries director for South Eastern Europe, Africa and Middle East at Sun. "Once we identify a country with significant potential we will engage with a partner to open a Sun office that will look, feel and do everything like any other Sun office or Sun subsidiary in the region - but the majority of the equity will be owned by the partner."

In a presentation given to partners at its MENA partner summit in Tunisia last week, Sun confirmed that the equity of these offices would be controlled by the partner at a ratio of 60% to 40%.

At the moment Sun has already begun working on establishing such a set-up in Morocco with a view to it being ready later this year, although it has not yet named the local partner involved in the programme. "If everything goes to plan, the first implementation will be in the third quarter when we have the launch of the Moroccan Sun entity with a partner, which again will look and feel like any other Sun office," said Lif.

Sun says that resellers which choose to join the equity programme will satisfy an, as yet unquantified, skill requirement. "It is game that has benefits for all of the partners because the one thing that we were missing in Morocco as a starting point was a local office. We have tactical plans that will hopefully be operational in the next few months - we are talking about Pakistan, Qatar, Kuwait and Kenya and other countries in other places. Once we past the first wave there will definitely be more," promised Lif.