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Sun, Google Partner On Web, Desktop Tech

Google Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc. on Tuesday launched a technology partnership, but gave little indication as to where the deal would lead the companies, particularly as Google increasingly competes with Microsoft Corp. on the Web and desktop.

As part of the agreement, Sun, based in Santa Clara, Calif., would distribute the Google Toolbar with the Java Runtime Environment available through Sun's portal for Java technology. Sun claims the JRE, which is the operating environment of Java applications, is on 700 million desktops.

The Google Toolbar, an add-in to Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Mozilla Corp.'s Firefox browsers, adds a number of capabilities, such as web search, a spell checker for web forms and a blocker for pop-up ads.

In addition to the technology bundle, Google, which is a customer of Sun, planned to use more of Sun's products, but declined to provide details.

"Google is already a Sun systems customer, and we will extend that significantly," Eric Schmidt, chief executive of Google, said during a joint news conference with Sun CEO Scott McNealy.

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