As predicted earlier today, Sun has acquired German office productivity application developer, Star Division, in a clear move against arch rival Microsoft.
At the same time, Sun unveiled Star Portal, a major initiative to provide word processing, presentation graphics, spreadsheet and other office software tools for any Web browser and eventually portable devices.
Starportal combines a Java based client with the software to enable browser access to office productivity tools. Sun said it is developing a component model that will enable software developers to integrate Starportal functionality within their products.
For example, a financial Web service could embed a basic spreadsheet component within an investment application and make this available to customers through a browser.
According to Sun chief operating officer Ed Zander, the software is easy to use.
"Star Office has the features and ease of use you'd demand in an office suite. Users can download it today and get right to work. If you know Microsoft office, you'll fell right at home. And best of all, you can open, modify and even save files in Microsoft's formats," he said.
Staroffice runs on the Linux, Solaris, Windows and OS/2 platforms and contains filters for importing other file formats, including Microsoft Word and Excel.
The company said it had wide ranging industry support for the initiative from 27 companies, including Oracle, Fujitsu, AT&T and Red Hat and that early access versions of the Starportal office productivity software for the Web would be available later this autumn with final delivery due next spring.
Sun said it will continue to offer Star Division's traditional office desktop software Staroffice for free download over the Internet.
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