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PC Week: With StarOffice, Sun aims at a big, but hard, target

“At Tuesday’s New York press conference announcing Sun
Microsystems’ acquisition of Star Division and its StarOffice
productivity suite, Sun CEO Scott McNealy sought to redraw the
playing field of desktop computing with one short sentence.
“What used to be industries,” McNealy proclaimed, “are becoming
features.

“The absorption of an entire business into one bullet point on a
feature list is old news for makers of PC utility software. With
each successive generation of DOS, then of Windows, another
ingenious maker of an invaluable product found itself either
acquired (if lucky) or made redundant (far more often) as baseline
operating environments offered growing arrays of safety features
and creature comforts…”

“But Sun gives a strong push to Linux, and even a helping hand
to OS/2, with its immediate promise of continued free availability
of a capable software suite that doesn’t act as a Windows
compatibility test. And Sun extends Microsoft’s own Office 2000
initiatives (notably Web-based collaboration and streamlined
administration) with its future promise to offer portal-based
office suite services via the Web.”


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