October 3, 2005 4:52 PM PDT
Google, Sun plan partnership
- Related Stories
Microsoft says Office beta coming in NovemberOctober 3, 2005
Sun president: PCs are so yesterdaySeptember 23, 2005
Google builds an empire to rival MicrosoftSeptember 21, 2005
McNealy holds hope for 'iPod moments'September 20, 2005
Bechtolsheim's machine dreamsSeptember 11, 2005
Sun lays plans to boost desktopSeptember 16, 2003
Sun to give StarOffice Java flavorNovember 27, 2002
Sun to offer Microsoft Office competitor for freeAugust 30, 1999
(continued from previous page)
widely for running desktop software, it has long had the potential to undermine Microsoft's strength by providing an alternative program foundation to Windows.
Other avenues for cooperation between the companies exist. Google's data center could use Sun's "Galaxy" line of AMD Opteron-based x86 servers and, though they're farther afield from Google's current x86-based systems, its upcoming Niagara-based Sparc-Solaris machines that are geared for Web-oriented tasks.
Sun's top two executives have repeatedly praised Google's influence. "Google is probably the most important application your CIO (chief information officer) delivers to you," McNealy said in a speech in September. And Schwartz used Google to highlight Google's power to bypass computing decision-makers and reach directly to the computer users.
"How many CIOs picked Google? Zero. How many employees use it? All of them," Sun's president said in a February speech. "Consumers have a great deal of influence."
Wall Street responded favorably to a news advisory about the Sun-Google partnership, sending Sun's stock up 26 cents, or 7 percent, to $4.19 at the close of trading Monday. Google rose $2.22, or 1 percent, to $318.68.
Microsoft isn't the only company that could suffer from a Google-sponsored thrust to rival desktop computing applications, Interarbor Solutions analyst Dana Gardner said. "IBM is in this game as well with their middleware-to-the-client strategy," he said. IBM's approach combines a version of OpenOffice with browser access to Domino and Notes server software. Its focus, though, is on businesses, while Google also has consumers in its crosshairs.
In the longer term, Sun believes applications will move to the network. That's a possibility even with office applications.
"It seems almost irresistible for Google and Sun to combine Google's ubiquitous reach with Sun's grid, Java and server strengths, to deliver hosted access to resources that could cause some pre-winter chills to run through Redmond," Robert Frances Group analyst Michael Dortch said.
In September, Sun's McNealy reiterated his belief that thin clients will prevail, with central servers handling the heavy lifting of computing rather than PCs.
But centrally hosted office software would require some major engineering to be widely used. In 1999, Sun had plans for a Java-based version of StarOffice, called StarPortal, that could run on the network so that Java-enabled devices could access it. On Monday, though, Sun said, "there are currently no plans for a Java version of StarOffice."
21 commentsJoin the conversation! Add your comment