Mention the Internet or intranet and the company name that springs to mind is Sun Microsystems. Back in 1984, when Sun was only two years old, it came up with a marketing phrase that did not go down well: 'The network is the computer.' The phrase was trademarked but then mothballed. Along came the Internet and suddenly networking became the most important thing in the industry. Sun has been laughing ever since. Among the companies waking up to the Internet are Microsoft and PC hardware makers such as Compaq. With Windows NT, Microsoft thinks it has a 'Unix killer' and Compaq has been promoting Intel-based servers running NT. Sun, today, is launching an answer to this in Hong Kong in the form of a server and a workstation it hopes will keep the Microsoft and Compaq at bay. PCI (peripheral component interconnect), the Ultra Enterprise 30 and Ultra Enterprise 450 machines are Sun's first PCI-based ones. Sun hopes these machines will be chosen by businesses thinking of setting up networks that can be used for Internet and intranet. David Douglas, director of marketing for Sun's workgroup server division, believed there was no competition from Microsoft and its NT operating system. 'The benchmark results offer compelling evidence that Sun can deliver what has been seriously lacking in the workgroup space: scalability and enterprise-class performance,' Mr Douglas said. ' Mona Lee, Sun's local marketing manager, emphasised the performance advantages of Sun servers over NT servers. 'Sun is looking to take on Compaq in the workgroup server space, with a more scalable, more reliable server that will handle business-critical applications.' Ms Lee said the Ultra Enterprise 30 was a workstation aimed particularly at those doing specialised CAD (computer- aided design) and CAE (computer-aided engineering) applications. The battle between Sun and Microsoft (or perhaps one should say between Unix and NT) is heating up. Some of the exchanges on the Internet have been quite frank. Sun , of course, makes the hardware as well as the software and its newly announced update of its operating system software, Solaris 2.6, is also involved in its Internet/intranet solutions. Another development enhancing Sun's reputation is Java, Sun's programming language that has taken both the Web and the enterprise by storm over the last two years. Sun is trying to position itself as the Java platform of choice and has the advantage of having invented it.