Sun Microsystems has signed a deal with IT services giant EDS to support its desktop products, further establishing StarOffice as a viable enterprise alternative to Microsoft.
Speaking at SunNetwork, the company's customer event in Berlin this week, Sun chairman Scott McNealy (pictured) described the deal with EDS - to provide global desktop support and migration services for all Sun desktop customers - as a very big partnership.
"It measures 8.5 on the Richter scale. We're making huge strides as a desktop company and we have a great enterprise desktop offering," he said.
Sun claims that there have been more than 30,000 downloads of the open source version of StarOffice. The company has also signed 17 European OEM deals for the desktop applications with companies including Sony.
Meanwhile photographic retailer Jessops is already claiming massive cost savings by implementing StarOffice in the largest UK rollout of Sun's office productivity suite to date.
StarOffice will be rolled out alongside an integrated point of sale enterprise management system for 3,000 Jessops employees across 250 stores, together with the UK's first deployment of Sun's Enterprise Learning Platform.
Total savings from the implementations are expected to reach around £2m. The software offers a centralised view of every Jessops store around the country as well as identifying skills gaps and providing just-in-time training.
Mark Tolliver, chief strategy officer at Sun, said that the recently announced deal with government-sponsored CSSC in China to rollout non-Windows desktop software could results in tens of millions of users over time.
The deal is currently in pilot stage with a planned rollout to around 500,000 users.
"This is very early days with respect to anyone with 98 per cent market share," said Tolliver.
"But a modest amount of engineering work has already paid off significantly, and we are very encouraged by the amount of interest from the education sector and the public sector in particular."
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