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Sun Keeps Busy, Snapping Up Two

Sun Microsystems Inc. made a double-play Monday, snagging two companies to extend its offerings. Sun is fielding HighGround Systems Inc., which offers storage resource management solutions for open systems environments, in an all-stock transaction valued at about $400 million. It is also grabbing grapeVINE Technologies, a provider of collaborative knowledge management software, for an undisclosed amount.

Sun expects the acquisition of HighGround to close in its third quarter -- which ends March 30, 2001 -- and will then fold HighGround into Sun's Network Storage organization, which reports to Executive Vice President Janpieter Scheerder.

Sun said HighGround's solutions complement its existing product line and will allow it to further its strategy of providing easily managed, scalable storage networks by adding new storage resource management capabilities and multi-platform tools for management of data and control of resources..

"The Net Effect will require storage networks that are easy-to-manage, highly available and infinitely scalable," said Ed Zander, president and chief operating officer of Sun. "With the acquisition of HighGround Systems, Sun is taking the next step in making that vision a reality and liberating system administrators from the daunting task of managing these complex storage environments. The HighGround team brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to Sun and will be instrumental in helping build on our strategy of delivering easy-to-manage storage networks."

Sun's acquisition of grapeVINE is geared to aiding iPlanet E-Commerce Solutions, a Sun-Netscape Alliance. iPlanet provides an Internet Service Deployment Platform, and the grapeVINE acquisition will allow it to incorporate search, indexing and knowledge management capabilities with its Portal Server software. The search and indexing capabilities will be passed through to iPlanet customers as free, standard features of the Portal Server software. grapeVINE's knowledge management technology will be folded into the Portal Server as Personalized Knowledge Services, and will be available as a value-added component of the portal server product line. iPlanet said grapeVINE's technology will be offered to customers in first quarter 2001.

"The knowledge management and information retrieval expertise of the grapeVINE team, coupled with the leading tools we gain through this acquisition, will extend our portal platform's range of smart services to give iPlanet customers features and functionality that are unmatched by any other portal vendor," said Mark Tolliver, president of iPlanet.

grapeVINE's technology gives users the ability to define topics of interest and receive information matching their interests and priorities. Also, each user can provide feedback to the system which is aggregated and made available to the entire portal community.



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