Sun Microsystems still isn't shipping StarOffice 6, but when it does, it won't be for free.
Tuesday, Sun said StarOffice 6 for Linux, Solaris, and Windows will now ship in May. While a version available at OpenOffice.org will continue to be offered as a free download, Sun plans to charge for the software.
Corporations will be charged based on a tiered, per-user cost structure with Sun offering additional service and support contracts as well. Retail price is expected to be less than $100. Students can get the software for a nominal charge to cover the cost of the materials. SunRay appliances and Solaris workstations will continue to ship with the applications pre-installed.
Beta software has been available since October. Last summer, Sun said the software would ship by the fall. In the fall, the company said it would ship early this year.
StarOffice faces an uphill battle in an applications landscape dominated by Microsoft Office. Most analysts said Office has in excess of 90 percent share of the desktop applications market. StarOffice does offer what Microsoft Office does not, however: a cross-platform application suite. But while Microsoft offers a Macintosh version of its suite, Sun is relying on OpenOffice.org for its Mac version.