Sun Microsystems last week announced the upcoming release of StarPortal, a Web-based software suite targeted as a competitor to Microsoft's Office and based on technology acquired when Sun bought Star Division.
Sun was scheduled to detail the announcement at a press conference last week in New York along with plans to push its network services model as part of an initiative related to the acquisition. Information about the initiative was provided in a written statement from Sun.
Sun said it will launch what it calls an "early-access" version of StarPortal later this year. The site will offer Web-enabled office productivity software including word processing, presentation graphics, spreadsheet and other office functions via any Web browser and will also be offered for portable devices at some point, Sun said.
Sun is also offering the current StarOffice desktop software for free download at www.sun.com/staroffice. StarOffice 5.1 runs on the Linux, Windows, Solaris and OS/2 operating systems. Users will be able to import various software file formats, including those from PowerPoint, Excel and Microsoft Word.
Users of Microsoft Office and other similar software will not need much, if any, training to use StarOffice, according to Sun, and will have immediate access to Office files, which they will be able to modify and export.
StarOffice CDs are priced at $US9.95; the software can also be ordered with printed documentation and support, priced at $39.95. Additional support services will be announced later, Sun said.
Sun is in talks with Internet service, Internet outsourcing and network hosting providers and with vendors of enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and sales force automation software to promote acceptance of its network services model through use of StarPortal.
Sun is promoting a network services business model in which companies turn over to service providers such tasks as managing networks, servers and applications.
The company also said it is working on a plan to let software developers integrate StarPortal into their applications.
The company will also provide the software source code under licensing terms.