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Sun Microsystems Brings Productivity Suite Online

Sun Microsystems Inc. Tuesday launched Star Portal, a new online network offering a variety of productivity tools that will battle head-to-head with Microsoft's Office suite.

The news comes after Sun's purchase of Star Division, a German applications service provider, on Aug. 5. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tools of the network include word processing, presentation graphics, spreadsheet and other software to any Web browser and portable devices. Early-access versions of the StarPortal software will be available this fall.

"The new service-driven network is all about accessing the tools you need to do your job anywhere, with any device," said Ed Zander, Sun's president and chief operating officer. "This initiative to 'dot-com' office productivity software and to work with key partners in delivering this functionally via the Web will turbocharge this trend."

Zander said the effort is a response to a number of client requests for software accessible over the Internet. It also makes it possible for users to access a variety of formats without having to purchase expensive software.

The initiative is Sun's strategy to provide an end-to-end software solution to the industry, including tools, software, middleware and mission critical software.

Sun's (SUNW) plans for the StarPortal initiative include:

  • Distributing the classic version, StarOffice for free at its Web site for the Windows, Linux, OS/2 and Solaris platforms.
  • Completing development of StarPortal, a Web-based version of the office suite that combines a Java-based client with the software to enable browser access to office productivity tools.
  • Developing a component model that will enable software developers to integrate StarPortal functionality within their products.
  • Providing source code under licensing terms.

Star Division Corp. makes a variety of application tools, which run on a number of computer platforms, including variations of Unix and IBM's OS/2.