Sun has found one more way to cosy up to Microsoft users without actually shipping Windows.

For the next three months, it will offer Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs) a 35 percent discount on its line of Opteron servers and workstations. The promotion is designed to give Microsoft professionals the "unique opportunity" to sell and support Windows on Sun's PC systems, the company said.

Sun's historical animosity towards Microsoft has waned substantially since the two companies settled their legal differences and entered into a technical collaboration agreement in April of this year. Sun has already certified its Xeon and Opteron systems to run Windows, but company executives say that unlike other major PC vendors, it still has no plans to actually ship Windows.

With the promotion, which ends in November, MCPs will also be able to receive half off the price of Sun's Java Creator development tool.

A Sun Fire V20z server with two Opteron 244 processors and 2G bytes of memory will cost $3,195 under the discounted price. Sun's Java Workstation W1100z will start at $1,495.

Of course, MCPs who want to take advantage of the Opteron's 64-bit capabilities may have to wait awhile. Microsoft is not expected to ship a production version of Windows that can take advantage of Opteron's 64-bit instruction set until the first half of 2005 - several months after Sun's promotion ends.