Google, Sun to finally take on Microsoft?

Sun, Google reportedly to make announcement related to StarOffice.

Nearly two years after they were expected to announce a Microsoft Office killer, Sun Microsystems and Google may finally be planning to do it. Or not.

By way of background, following much hype about a partnership in October 2005, Sun and Google held an anticlimactic news conference in which all they announced was that they were collaborating on work on Sun's, Java and OpenSolaris and Google's Toolbar.

But now Mary Jo Foley, in her ZDNet blog, has reported that she got confirmation from a Sun representative that the company plans to make a StarOffice-related announcement on Wednesday that will have a "significant impact in the industry about the adoption of Open Document Format and availability of free MS Office-compatible comprehensive office suite."

Foley was tipped off by a report on the Google Operating System blog over the weekend that Google had secretly added Sun's StarOffice software suite to its Google Pack of recommended applications. StarOffice is comprised of a word processor, presentation app, database and spreadsheet tool among other things, and as such competes with Microsoft Office.

Google Pack
Google offers StarOffice in Google Pack. Google

"The next step would probably be the addition of a plug-in that lets you synchronize local documents with Google Docs & Spreadsheets, so you can have the best of the both worlds: edit complicated documents offline, collaborate and store files securely online," the Google Operating System blog proposes. "For now, StarOffice is integrated with Google Search and Google Desktop."

A Google-Sun alliance may not be the only threat Microsoft faces. Foley cites a Wired blog that quotes an Adobe platform manager as saying he wouldn't rule out Adobe's entering the office productivity software market.

It has long been speculated that Google is vying for Microsoft's desktop software market by offering a free, Web-based alternative with its Google Docs & Spreadsheets. The company solved the problem of users needing offline access to the information by offering Google Gears, a browser extension, in May.

Poor Microsoft; getting it from all directions.