Sun Introduces Web-based Office Software Suite

Sun Microsystems today announced the debut of StarOffice 5.1, a new software applications package that competes head-to-head with the Office suite from Microsoft.

The software is available free for download at the StarOffice Web site, and is selling a CD-ROM for customers who prefer not to wait for the software to download. In addition to the new software, Sun unveiled its new StarPortal service, a Web site that enables customers to access software tools over the Internet. StarPortal becomes operational this fall.

The Sun suite offers much of the same abilities as Office does, including word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software, and along with StarPortal, enables the assistance of one Internet site, much in the same fashion as other portals on the Web, including Yahoo! and Lycos, that presents users a one-stop information and e-mail interface. The StarPortal also offers a cross-platform interface that can be accessed using the big three operating systems: Linux, Windows and OS/2.

Sun CEO Scott McNealy discounted concerns about breaches of security related to Internet-based e-mail services in light of Monday's MSN's Hotmail announcement, saying that a free e-mail service like Hotmail is worlds apart from the StarPortal initiative.

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