"Changing times and technologies again conspire against Office.
This time, the challenge centers on a new model for software
delivery based on hosted software that application service
providers (ASPs) offer.'
"In August 1999, Sun Microsystems acquired Star Division, makers
of the StarOffice productivity suite. Following its acquisition of
Star Division, Sun announced plans to publish the StarOffice APIs
and to distribute the software for free over the Internet. By the
end of November 1999, more than 1,000,000 people had downloaded
"Now, Microsoft faces the prospect of competing against a free
office suite that has file compatibility with Office and that Sun-a
strong competitor-is backing. For Sun, StarOffice offers the
opportunity to bolster the company's application line in a market
(i.e., office productivity) that the company hasn't had a presence
in. StarOffice is a good program, and even if it isn't in
Office's league, businesses might find saving $500 to $800 per copy
for office productivity software compelling."
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