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ZDNet: Sun’s StarOffice catching Microsoft

“Sun Microsystems Inc. said Tuesday that it is already
making progress in a bold initiative to break Microsoft Corp.’s
stranglehold on word processing and other office productivity
software.
… Sun is offering its StarOffice product for free
over the Internet in the hope of pulling users away from Microsoft
Office, which often sells for $300 or more.”

“Microsoft has sold millions of copies of its Office suite and
has 90 percent market share in that business. But it has come under
pressure by a movement to provide software for free. In the
operating system market, its Windows product is now facing
competition from Linux, a program that can be downloaded for free
from the Internet.

Sun also plans to give a ‘portal version’ of StarOffice to
Internet service providers, phone companies or other online
companies that use Sun computers, McNealy said. These companies
could then create Web sites where computer users could go to use
Star applications via the Internet — without downloading the 65MB
of files required for the programs.”

“McNealy said the portal version would help Sun sell servers —
powerful computers that control networks or Web sites. …unlike
Microsoft Office, StarOffice runs on non-Microsoft as well as
Microsoft operating systems, and it is the leading productivity
suite for users of Linux.”

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