Sun, Google Team Up For Software Services

At a press conference, Sun Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy and Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt said the two companies agreed to bundle and distribute the Google Toolbar with Sun&s Java Runtime Environment (JRE) in late October, and to co-develop and co-distribute Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun&s OpenOffice and OpenSolaris in the future.

“What Netscape did for the Java Runtime, the JRE can do for the Google Toolbar,” McNealy said. “This can be a big deal.”

The pair hinted at integrating Mountain View, Calif.-based Google&s searching service, e-mail, auto-correction and auto-translation services with OpenOffice, and exploiting Google APIs in Sun&s operating system, applications and middleware, and indeed, all Java apps. Yet while they discussed co-developing OpenSolaris and OpenOffice, they provided little detail on how they will productize their joint efforts.

Some viewed the announcement as a hollow marketing event. Yet some Sun partners saw it as a way to get more Google services in front of Java users and a possible first step at transforming OpenOffice into a managed desktop service.

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“Perhaps more interesting is that Google may be looking at the managed desktop,” said Gerard McGowan, vice president of technology and services at Innovativ, Edison, N.J. “I can see a StarOffice build, probably a Web interface, to a Google portal accessible for everyone, anytime, anyplace, on any device.”

Ed Pimentel, CEO of AgileCo, said the deal may enable open-source developers to build a powerful desktop exploiting Google&s desktop user interface, search e-mail, mobile messaging and VoIP services.

“While others focus on developing individual applications, Google is building a massive, general-purpose computing platform for Internet2-scale programming,” Pimentel said. “What if we can extend all of this technology to typical desktop applications like OpenOffice software, then combine them all into one interface and bundle the Google OS?”