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Information Week: Sun's StarOffice Gambit

Sep 10, 1999, 05:45 (12 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Fred Langa)

"Sun made international news last week when it started giving away the StarOffice Suite. StarOffice is the crown jewel of a company Sun recently acquired, Softwareentwicklungs GmbH, now renamed StarDivision Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sun. Giving away the office suite is a gutsy move that--despite Sun CEO Scott McNealy's protests to the contrary--may do to Microsoft what Microsoft did to Netscape..."

"...Today, Microsoft earns something like 40% of its revenue from Microsoft Office. The cheapest and most limited incarnations of Office cost around $180 a pop; the most elaborate and expensive cost almost $1,000. Sun, by releasing a free, fully functional and highly capable office suite into this profit-rich venue, has potentially devalued Microsoft Office in much the same way that IE once devalued Netscape's browser..."

"So, StarOffice is an interesting and real competitor to Microsoft Office in its own right; but given the fact that it's free and that its operation weans its users away from Microsoft's visual dominance of the desktop ... well, if I were Bill Gates, I'd be worried."

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