Sun Microsystems and Google have formed a software alliance to take on Microsoft.
An agreement between the pair will make it easier for millions of users to freely obtain the Google Toolbar and the OpenOffice.org office suite, which is an open-source rival to Microsoft’s Office suite.
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The partners will also jointly promote Sun's Java software for the desktop, which rivals Microsoft's desktop technology.
Java software for the desktop, also known as the Java Runtime Environment (JRE), needs to be installed on a machine in order for it to run Java-based applications. Over 700 million desktop users already use Java technology, according to Sun.
Sun will include the Google Toolbar as an option for consumer downloads of the Java Runtime Environment and the companies have agreed to explore opportunities to promote and enhance OpenOffice.org.
The agreement fell short of earlier expectations that the two companies would jointly promote and sell Sun’s more feature-rich Star Office 8 suite, which has just been launched and is much cheaper than Microsoft’s Office.
Scott McNealy, chief executive officer of Sun Microsystems, said, "Working with Google will make our technologies available more broadly, increase options for users, lower barriers and expand participation worldwide.
“Free and open-source technologies, such as OpenOffice.org, the OpenSolaris operating system and Java, have never been safer or offered more choices.”
Eric Schmidt, chief executive officer of Google, said, "Google and Java are two of the most widely recognised technology brands. The Google Toolbar offers useful internet search services while Java enables richer interactive content. We look forward to exploring other related areas of collaboration."