CNET News.com: The week in review: Sun giveaway challenges Microsoft

“Sun Microsystems acknowledged plans to give away Web-based
office software, in an unorthodox effort to challenge Microsoft’s
commanding market position.

Instead of trying to outsell Microsoft Office–a
strategy that hasn’t been successful for Corel’s WordPerfect or
IBM’s Lotus SmartSuite–Sun will promote its StarPortal package
in much the same fashion as Webmail or calendaring services have
won widespread popularity.
PCs, Internet kiosks, and even Palm
Pilots will be able to access the Sun software, which runs on a
central server.”

“Despite Sun’s emphasis on making an end run, the StarOffice
software will be freely downloadable to run on individual PCs.
StarOffice also will run on Linux, IBM’s OS/2, and Sun’s Solaris
operating systems, as well as Windows.

Sun hopes to make money by selling technical support as well as
the powerful ‘back end’ systems that will power StarPortal. It’s
not the only company that will sell support, however: Sun hired
Linuxcare to handle the Linux version.”