"According to [StarOffice developer Marco] Boerries, a prime
reason to release StarOffice under the GPL was to commoditize
office applications, giving users and developers the power to walk
away from the relatively expensive Microsoft Office. (We all
whine about the Microsoft tax on new machines, but the real
Microsoft tax occurs in the corporation, where companies are forced
to pay high prices for Microsoft applications.) Despite
StarOffice's presence in the Linux community, only 27.5 percent of
StarOffice downloads come from Linux users; a whopping 70 percent
comes from Windows users, and the rest comes from Solaris users.
"By getting StarOffice to market in 2000 with extensive support
for XML, Sun will beat Microsoft to the punch, as XML support in
Microsoft's Office.Net isn't scheduled to arrive until 2002. ...
The final part of the plan that makes the release such a sweet
maneuver is that Sun won't be losing any revenues by releasing
StarOffice under the GPL, as the product isn't currently generating
any revenues for Sun."
"Releasing StarOffice under the GPL was certainly a brilliant
stroke for Sun: it empowers the Open Source community with a
powerful tool that can be implemented in any number of ways, and it
puts Microsoft on the defensive. It doesn't get any better than
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