Posted August 13, 2007 10:23 am by with 7 comments

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Google adds StarOffice’s–an alternative to Microsoft Office–to Google Pack and raises the question; why not OpenOffice?

Sun Microsystem’s StarOffice is a very robust office suite and includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentations and more. It normally sells for close to $70 and is a step-up from the open source project version; OpenOffice.

It’s a great announcement for those looking for a free alternative to Microsoft Office–just don’t suggest that Google is competing with Microsoft–but what does it mean for Google and Sun?

When we first announced the partnership between the two companies, it was suspected that we’d see a co-branded version of OpenOffice. Now that we see StarOffice available as a free download, it raises a few questions:

  1. Sun must be ready to abandon any future revenues from StarOffice–why would anyone pay for it now?
  2. Is there a next stage to this announcement? When you give something away for free, it’s usually the first step of a long-term plan.
  3. Is Google subsidizing the cost of StarOffice?
  4. What’s in it for Sun? There’s no apparent revenues to be earned from this.
  5. Why is Sun still bidding on “StarOffice” at Google AdWords?

I have more questions than I have answers, but I’m sure things will be revealed over the coming months.

  • I’ve heard that one reason Google went for StarOffice was that it included tools to help users migrate away from Microsoft Office.

    Just a rumour though ..

  • @Owen – but Google’s not in competition with MSFT. 😉

    I guess they can technically say, “we’re not competing with MSFT Office, we’re just helping Sun compete.” 😉

  • i agree Andy. And ive heard there will be new company to support open source projects.

  • It is an interesting decision and apparent partnership that at the moment does raise more questions than answers. I think it’s easy to see what’s in this for Google, but for Sun…

    We’re obviously not privy to everything that goes on behind closed doors, but I’m sure in time will find out what’s in it for Sun.

  • I also assume this is somewhat of a competitive stance against MSFT. But in any case I think it is great for the consumer.

  • Does Staroffice have support for the latest version of Office(their new fangled XML based system)? AFAIK openoffice does not support the latest verison.

  • I belive that in long term plan there will be some fee for some additional modules or something but the basics would stay free that way they could compete.