Google has quietly started to distribute Sun’s StarOffice and Java software, almost two years after the two companies made vague promises to work together.
The StarOffice download, which includes Java, is now part of of the Google Pack, an increasingly swollen bundle of free software that Google makes available.
The move is being widely seen as another move against Microsoft on the desktop.
Applications in Google Pack almost all share two key characteristics — they’re competitive to Microsoft products, and Google doesn’t have a product of its own in that market.
Google Pack also includes Skype, Norton Security Scan, Firefox, Adobe Reader and RealPlayer.
The addition of StarOffice, Sun’s proprietary flavor of OpenOffice.org, comes almost two years after Sun and Google first started talking about possible deals.
Back in October 2005, the two companies announced a poorly-defined partnership, part of which saw Sun promise to distribute the Google Toolbar bundled with Java downloads.
The deal was not immediate quid pro quo, but they did say they would explore opportunities to promote and enhance Sun technologies, like the Java Runtime Environment and the OpenOffice.org productivity suite.
Two years of exploring later, and it is not OpenOffice.org but StarOffice, which includes a handful of Sun’s proprietary extensions, that will see the benefit of Google’s blessing. StarOffice usually sells on Sun’s web site for $70.
Since the 2005 announcement, Google has released its own hosted office productivity apps, Docs & Spreadsheets. This suite currently comprises word processing and spreadsheeting apps, with a Powerpoint clone due to be added later this summer.