Sun, Oracle Team To Battle Microsoft Office System 2003


Oracle Collaboration Suite, Sun StarOffice pushed as solution


Oracle and Sun Microsystems have teamed together to match Microsoft's Office System 2003 value proposition.

On Thursday, the allies--both Microsoft rivals--said in a statement that they had developed joint sales training and telemarketing campaigns globally designed to steer customers to use the recently released Oracle Collaboration Suite with Sun's StarOffice suite, which competes with Microsoft Office.

Oracle recently launched Oracle Collaboration Suite Release 2. The upgrade offers Web conferencing features, but an instant-messaging feature isn't scheduled until 2004.

The collaboration suite will go up against Microsoft's forthcoming Office Live Real-Time Communications (RTC) and Microsoft Meeting Web conferencing services, due to be launched this fall.

The Oracle suite was developed to run on Sun's Solaris and it exploits key capabilities of the Unix platform including security and SMP features, the companies said in the statement. The next version of Sun's Mad Hatter desktop with StarOffice 6.1 will run on Sun Solaris and Linux.

The news comes as Microsoft gets ready to debut this fall its Office System 2003, which tightly integrates Office 2003 applications with the Live RTC and Microsoft Meetings products, as well as SharePoint collaboration and portal platform and and Exchange 2003 e-mail and groupware platform.

According to the statement, the two products will offer cost advantages over the Office System 2003.

"Oracle Collaboration Suite on Sun systems provides a solution that helps solve major issues for customers using enterprise messaging applications, especially cost, security and complexity," said Stuart Wells, senior vice president of market development at Sun, in a statement. "At the same time, the interoperability and availability of StarOffice as an alternative office-productivity suite allows customers to cut their tether to Microsoft's pricing schemes and frequent security breaches," he said.

Earlier in the day, Jeff Raikes, group vice president of productivity and business services at Microsoft, said the integration of collaboration, communications and XML support into Office 2003 will offer a far greater business value than what Linux competitors could provide.