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The world’s largest supplier of microprocessors Intel Corp. and one of the leading producers of servers, clusters and workstations – Sun Microsystems – have announced what they call “a broad strategic alliance”, under which Intel would support Solaris operating system, while Sun will use Intel Xeon processors for its machines, which is likely to lead to creation of certain new technologies.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sun is set to complement its current offerings with platforms based on Intel Xeon microprocessors optimized for Solaris beginning in the first half of 2007. Intel, in its turn, will endorse Sun’s Solaris, Java and NetBeans products and will actively support the OpenSolaris and open Java communities from which they continue to evolve, meaning that Solaris and other software products from Sun will be able to take advantage of additional features that Intel Corp.’s chips can provide.

The two companies will also work together on the rapid adoption of key enterprise-class Intel and Sun technologies for Sun’s systems based on Intel Xeon processors including Intel Virtualization Technology, Intel IO Acceleration Technology (IOAT) and Intel Demand Based Switching.

The agreement means that Intel will reclaim its position inside Sun’s servers in the first half of the year and Advanced Micro Devices will no longer be able to boast with exclusive agreement to supply x86 chips to Sun.

As part of this alliance, Intel has signed a Solaris OEM agreement enabling Intel to distribute and support the Solaris OS to its customers as market opportunities may arise and consistent with Intel's product strategies. Intel and Sun will strongly encourage independent software vendors (ISVs) and system providers to expand their offerings for Solaris on Intel-based systems, and Intel will support Sun in its efforts to optimize applications for Solaris on Intel Xeon processor-based systems.

“We’re excited about Intel’s long term Xeon road map and the performance we’re seeing with Solaris and Sun Java on the Xeon platforms. And Intel’s endorsement for and agreement to OEM Solaris opens markets for both of us across the world. This is truly a landmark relationship for the industry,” said Jonathan Schwartz, president and chief executive, Sun Microsystems.

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