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Apple And Sun Team Up To Produce StarOffice For OS X

Apple And Sun Team Up To Produce StarOffice For OS X

by , 8:00 AM EDT, July 30th, 2002

[Editor's note: It has recently been reported that news stories regarding StarOffice coming to OS X are the result of a misunderstanding concerning Sun's StarOffice and the open-source project OpenOffice of which Sun is a member. TMO is actively trying to verify the facts of the situation.]

Apple Computer and Sun Microsystems are in the planning phase to produce Sun's office productivity package, StarOffice, for OS X. As reported by Joe Wilcox in a News.com article titled 'Sun to push StarOffice for Apple's OS X' , Sun and Apple are working together to initially produce a Java version of StarOffice, to be available by year end (2002), then a full version using Apple's Aqua GUI. From the artcle:

Apple Computer and Sun Microsystems are cooperating on a version of Sun's StarOffice productivity software for Mac OS X, the companies said.

Sun has been looking for hardware allies in its long-running quest to popularize StarOffice, which competes against Microsoft Office. To date, no major PC makers have pledged to heavily promote StarOffice.

Apple also gains a friend to help counter its increasingly contentious relationship with Microsoft, which has been struggling with sales of its Office v. X suite for Macintosh. Microsoft expected to sell 750,000 copies of the software; since its release last November, only 300,000 copies of Mac Office have sold.

The partnership is expected to produce a Java-based version of OpenOffice by the end of the year, followed by a commercial StarOffice release sometime in 2003.

"I think you can see OpenOffice running solid on OS X by the end of this calendar year," said Tony Siress, Sun's senior director of desktop marketing solutions.

The Open Source version of StarOffice, OpenOffice, was recently released for OS X but it requires an X11 server, such as XDarwin, to run. It is still in early development and many features are either not functioning properly or are slow. Still, the release of OpenOffice for OS X shows promise. Beyond being Open Source, the biggest difference between the two is StarOffice's use of licensed ad-ons, like fonts.

The article goes on to point out that Sun would prefer that Apple provide StarOffice as a bundled applications, essentially, a free app. From the article:

Ultimately, the success of StarOffice on OS X might come down to Apple, and not Sun.

"I don't want to sell StarOffice for OS X," Siress said. "I want Apple to bundle it. I'll give them the code. I'd love it if I could get the team at Apple to do joint development and they distribute it at no cost--that it's their product. Nobody makes a product more beautiful on Apple than Apple."

Check out the full article at News.com.

The Mac Observer Spin:

The implications could be staggering. If StarOffice is developed and released by Apple as an Apple application, the rift between Apple and Microsoft could widen -- and there could be a serious downside to having Big Redmond as an enemy. On the other hand, if StarOffice for OS X is done well and proves to be a viable alternative to Microsoft Office for OS X, Apple and Sun stand to gain a lot of acceptance in areas long dominated by Microsoft.

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