Brad Keates, Channel Manager Sun Microsystems Canada

New to the list this year is Brad Keates, vice president of marketing and partners for Sun Microsystems Canada, based in Markham, Ont. Keates, the first Sun executive to be included in the Top 25 Newsmakers, makes the list thanks to Sun’s Blade technology platform and his protection of Sun partners

in Canada.

The Sun Blade release was deemed by IT market analysts as a “”bet the company”” strategy.

With the release of Sun Fire Blades came a drastic reduction in prices. Sun, according to Keates, wanted to became a serious low-cost provider.

But, to his credit, low prices did not mean low margins for resellers.

Instead Sun Canada offered Sun Fire Blades along with Blade Web, Security server, new services, software and visualization products in an attempt to keep Sun partners profitable by helping them blanket the marketplace.

This gave Sun partners more room for the broad level sale keeping the margins intact instead of just selling the box. “”We want to get them to the point where they can sell a solution focused on core competencies,”” Keates said in a previous interview.

Keates was also instrumental in Sun Canada’s decision to create the Linux Competency Centre in Belleville, Ont. The facility will be used for a variety of educational purposes for end users and Sun partners alike.

The Linux Competency Centre will be the hub of Sun’s drive to convert people to Linux. It was also part of a three step program which includes building a general understanding of what Linux offers; assisting the setup, testing and prototyping; and migrating applications to a Linux environment, Keates said.

Also this year, Keates helped to promote Sun’s own office productivity tool, called StarOffice.

The new version, StarOffice 6.1, is available for download on the company’s Web site and includes most of the basics of Microsoft’s Office package — a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software, drawing tool and database access technology.

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