Google, Sun To Announce Alliance To Rival Microsoft Office

Google and Sun Microsystems are set to announce a "collaborative effort," sparking wide speculation that they are planning to release Web-based software that competes with Microsoft Office.

October 4, 2005

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Google Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc. said they would announce on Tuesday a "collaborative effort," sparking industry speculation that the two companies are planning to release Web-based software that competes with Microsoft Corp.'s Office productivity suite.

The two companies plan to hold the morning news conference at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., which is the city where Google is based.

Sun, headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., has a productivity suite called StarOffice, which is based on the open source suite OpenOffice. StarOffice supports Microsoft's file formats and includes many of the core applications of the Microsoft suite, including word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software.

Google, on the other hand, has GMail, a Web mail application that lacks many of the capabilities found in Microsoft's more advanced Outlook desktop software.

Industry analysts speculate that the two companies may announce a desktop application that combines StarOffice and GMail capabilities, which would be accessible over the Internet.Google has released several desktop applications, such as software to search a PC's hard drive, as well as the Web; and an application that retrieves satellite photos of Earth and delivers mapping and geographical information. The company's move to the desktop points to Google's ambitions to compete with Microsoft on its own turf, taking a Web approach to software that Microsoft has tied to the Windows operating system, analysts have said.

In early afternoon trading on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, Sun stock was up 19 cents, or 4.53 percent, to $4.38. Google was down 99 cents, or 0.31 percent, to $317.69.

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