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Sun-Google Announce ... Not Much

If you hold a press conference but don’t say anything, is it really a press conference?

In the case of Sun and Google, apparently the answer is “yes,” as many in the press are fawning over the news of a collaboration between the two companies, even though in terms of substance, it comes down to this: Sun will distribute the Google toolbar as an option with downloads of its Java Runtime Environment. This is a big coup for Google, because there must be a solid dozen or so folks who want but still don’t have the Google toolbar. Maybe two dozen!

But wait, the potentially bigger news is that the agreement between Sun and Google, “kicks off further collaboration between the companies on projects like OpenOffice.org,” or what Sun sees as the open source Office killer. Precious few details emerged as to what that collaboration might produce, but that doesn’t stop many from speculating that it’s a broadside from Google against Microsoft Office. I could see consumers, perhaps, turning to an office productivity suite that they could get from Google for free, or close to it. But businesses? I just don’t picture it. OpenOffice (and Sun’s StarOffice, potentially) is a legitimate threat to Office in some circles, such as the state of Massachusetts, which is concerned about adhering to open document formats. But do you really see Massachusetts turning to Google as its provider? I don’t.

Thankfully, we have technology journalists like Stuart Johnston who have been around long enough to see through the blather and provide some much needed perspective on stories like this. See his piece here.

Compare that to the story from Bloomberg, which positions the deal as a direct affront to Office.

One gem from Bloomberg’s piece: “Google has added e-mail, a product officials have touted as a possible alternative to word processing functions.” Yes, in the same way that PowerPoint is an alternative to Word.

Microsoft Softens Open Source Stance
Meanwhile, Microsoft appears to be softening up on Linux and open source in general, or at least on its rhetoric, according to a story posted Tuesday by The Register. It’s an interesting read, quoting Microsoft’s Martin Taylor, global head of platform strategy, on the company’s current approach to Linux. One tidbit: “We'd rather embrace open source, because we'd rather see open source applications running on Windows than running on Linux," he explains. Good call.

 

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PDF Is Coming To Office
With all the talk about OpenOffice, partners can use some ammo to sell customers on the benefits of Microsoft Office. There’s certainly no shortage of them, starting with the ever-increasing integration with various Microsoft applications. This week, Microsoft announced one more: support for the Portable Document Format, better known as PDF. Beginning with Office 12, users will have a “save as PDF” option when working in Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, InfoPath, Publisher and Visio. That will be one handy feature, and should help quell fears that Microsoft is trying to quash PDF with its own “Metro” document format, announced earlier this year.

In Case Of Emergency, Team with Motorola
Partners that serve the law enforcement, criminal justice and emergency response communities should find some opportunity in the announcement this week that Microsoft is teaming up with Motorola on a line of communication and incident management applications for those audiences, to be built on .NET.

EMC Helps SMBs Deal with Exchange
EMC announced this week it will soon ship a tool to help small-to-medium businesses get a better handle on e-mail storage and availability. The company’s Storage Administrator for Exchange 2.1, based on technology EMC acquired late last year when it bought Allocity, works with EMC CLARiiON AX and CX storage systems.

For more tips on dealing with Exchange storage, check out our feature, “Exchange Storage Rules: 15 Ways to Simplify, Solidify and Save.”

Posted by Paul Desmond on October 05, 2005 at 11:53 AM