RealTime IT News

Sun, Lindows.com Strike Deal

Proving the motto "My enemy's enemy is my friend," Microsoft foes Sun Microsystems and Lindows.com announced an alliance to put Sun's StarOffice software on Lindows.com's operating system.

The deal will make StarOffice 6.0, an alternative to Microsoft's Office suite, the first commercial application available to run on LindowsOS, a nascent Windows rival that combines a Linux OS and compatibility with Microsoft programs.

StarOffice, which debuted two months ago, will be made available through Lindows.com's "Click N' Run Warehouse," an online supply closet of hundreds of applications that allows LindowsOS users to customize their OS.

Downloading StarOffice, which Sun priced at $75.99 when it debuted in May, will not cost LindowsOS users more on top of the Lindows.com $99 membership fee. The basic version of Microsoft Office retails for $479.

"We find the Click-N-Run concept extremely innovative, and Sun is proud to now be part of the LindowsOS warehouse," said Mike Rogers, Sun's vice president and general manager for desktop and StarOffice products, in a statement. "Customers are increasingly looking for a cost-effective desktop productivity alternative that is complete, easy to use, and compatible with their Microsoft Office file formats."

StarOffice works very similarly to Office, allowing users to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations on the Linux, Solaris and Windows platforms. The suite uses an open Extensible Markup Language-based file format as its default, enabling anyone the ability to use widely available tools to open, modify, and share StarOffice content -- including some with Microsoft's Office import and export filters.

StarOffice is not an imminent major threat to the dominance of Office, which has been on the market for nearly two decades and boasts about 250 million people use on Windows, yet analysts say StarOffice could capture about 10 percent of the market. Many Microsoft customers have grumbled about the software giant's new software-licensing plan, which is slated to go into effect at the end of the month.

Lindows.com plans to ship its LindowsOS later this year, aiming to capture customers who like the flexibility along with the capabilities of Windows programs. The company hopes to steal market share with a $99 price tag. The LindowsOS is currently available in a preview version.

Last month, Lindows.com struck a deal with Microtel Computer Systems to make low-cost computers with LindowsOS pre-installed.

Lindows.com's founder, Michael Robertson of MP3.com renown, has been a vocal Microsoft critic, comparing Microsoft products to an old pair sneakers that aren't thrown away out of sheer laziness.

The company has fought a trademark case against Microsoft, which accuses it of unfairly appropriating a derivation of Microsoft's "Windows" trademark. In the most recent ruling, a judge