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Google's CEO and Sun to Announce Partnership



8:46 am on Oct 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

According to ZDNet News [news.zdnet.com]:

Sun Microsystems and Google plan to announce a collaborative effort that some analysts speculate could elevate the profile of the OpenOffice.org...

Details won't emerge publicly until Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Sun CEO Scott McNealy take the stage on Tuesday at a news conference in Mountain View, Calif. But one strong possibility is a partnership that could help shift personal computing out of Microsoft's domain and into Google's.

A move to distribute and popularize OpenOffice or StarOffice would be a challenge to Microsoft's money maker, Office, which could significantly weaken it's revenue stream.

Sun's president posted this to his blog [blogs.sun.com] on Sunday:

But value is returning to the desktop applications, and not simply through Windows Vista... From the obvious, to music sharing clients and development tools, there's a resurgence of interest in resident software that executes on your desktop, yet connects to network services. Without a browser. Like Skype. Or QNext. Or Google Earth. And Java? OpenOffice and StarOffice?

If I were a betting man, I'd bet the world was about to change.


11:16 am on Oct 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If you were Google and wanted to build some form of hosted office suite or other forms of rich UI apps would you seriously consider using AJAX?
Java is the only option (other than Flash - ack) and so helping distribute Java could be seen as helping to prepare the ground.


11:20 am on Oct 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member henry0 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Cain said "it can read MS office docs"

That's fine but
Does anyone know if it will be or is possible to import existing MS office docs to OO?


11:28 am on Oct 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Does anyone know if it will be or is possible to import existing MS office docs to OO?

As stated before I use OOo Calc and OOo Writer quite a lot. I always save my spreadsheet files as .xls and my word processing files as .doc, so that if anyone else needs to look at them on MS Office on another machine at some point in the future, they can.

Using OOo, I also have no problems looking at, editing and re-saving MS Office documents that others have sent me.


11:43 am on Oct 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member henry0 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Perfect! Thanks


1:12 pm on Oct 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

If I were Mr Gates I would offer "Google & Son" ;)
a zillion $$$ to back out of office applications and I would promise to keep away from Search. That way Google can dominat the net and MS the desktop. However, I seriously doubt such an agreement could or would happen.

Google will kick ass, This is big news. It will take a couple of years but I think the Sun (with Google) is going to rise again, and MS is going to set.

The only reason I don't use Linux OS is stuff like Photoshop and Macromedia don't run on it, and they are hardly likely to make versions that do. If Adobe/Macromedia made such versions their market would change to Linux and start trying out Gimp and such. So its a bit suicidal for Adobe/Macromedia to release versions for Linux. I know you can try out Gimp and the like on XP but the paying majority don't bother.


5:34 pm on Oct 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

> some kind of mundane bundling deal.

Agreed, but when Google has the top destination on the web, that is an incredible advertising agreement. This is not a "bundling deal", this is a celebrity endorsement deal. Most people have never even heard of OpenOffice. A Google endorsement is like Michael Jordan endorsing a new product.

> I don't see how this does much for google.

I feel it is the most brazen grab at ms power ever. The threat that Netscape represented to Microsoft, is but a fraction of what Google Sun Office represents to Microsoft. I don't think there can be no understating the effect this is having in Redmond. The gloves are off and the days of microsoft treating google like they were playing nice with this new kid on the block are over. Google just launched the first full scale frontal assault Microsoft has seen since Java.

> How will they make money from this?

It is about control and survival. Up to this point, the best money going said that Microsoft could swat Google like fly when they wanted to. Microsoft was holding all the cards and all the power. Googles fresh shot goes right at the Microsoft power base. If ms fades on Office, Google cuts off their air supply and forces microsoft to dig into the deep war chest to launch a counter offensive. What google is doing is making the OS secondary and hence, making Longhorn benign before it sees the light of day.

From ZDNET today:

The worry is that CEO Eric Schmidt is about to draw Google into the kind of anti-Microsoft obsession

What is in the water at ZDNet? Who does he think Google is? The home office of Google is laced hard with exNetscapers (several in the PR dept alone). Hello!? Google CEO Eric Schmidt spent 14 years working at Sun under confessed MS loather Scott McNealy. To this day, the word Microsoft thrown out in Google meetings is as potent as raw meat to a group of starving pit bulls. The feeling has been that Google has been running on borrowed time, and that Microsoft has the power, resources, and skill to drop the boot on them when ever they got the will and need to do it. So, Google is gearing up for war, because they know who Microsoft is based on the Netscape experience. Anti-Trust sanctions or not - zebras don't change their stripes! It may have been a kinder gentler Microsoft we have seen for a few years, but messing with Microsoft Office is akin to poking the bears cub. Office is Gates' Baby and he will protect it like his own child.

"I fear we have just awoken a sleeping Giant". - Yamamoto after Pearl Harbor.

> It's positioning for a few years down the road.

Yes, and also giving microsoft something to think about.

It also gives PC manufacturers new incentive and options to embed OpenOffice on new machines. Thus, it ends up an action on many different fronts.

> need to re-trained to use the new applications
> how much retraining would people need to use OpenOffice?

Most keyboard commands are 1-to-1 standard Windows OS. The learning curve is almost nonexistent. I can forsee people coming up with skins for OpenOffice to the point you will not be able to tell whether you are using Microsoft or OpenOffice. I've often used the OOspreadsheet and forgotten I wasn't using excell or MSWorks.

> A little selling going on whilst everything settles down?

I think the market was already looking for a Google Branded version of OpenOffice, and when that didn't happen, they were disappointed.

> possible to import existing MS office docs to OO?

Yes, you can import more Word .doc files than most versions of Word itself.


6:22 pm on Oct 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Lots of talk about the office suite... but what about the toolbar part of the deal? One report quotes Google CEO Schmidt as saying tens of millions of new toolbar downloads will result from the Sun deal. If that's true, Google would gain massive new macro tracking data as well as plenty of new eyeballs that can be targeted using behavioral analysis.


8:17 pm on Oct 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

">> Microsoft Office 2003 costs 26 euros for students"

And why does it cost 1/10 it's retail price? That's how drug dealers work too, get you hooked by offering high quality for cheap, then you're locked in, that pricing isn't an accident. Before there weren't any good alternatives, now there are, this is a good year for free software, a very good year. Free software will grow massively on the windows platform long before linux makes major inroads. Koffice is coming too.

Sun has been babbling about global network based services for at least 10 years, it's a broken record. But some points are right, we do use this stuff, tons of it, web based apps all over, google, WebmasterWorld, ebay, people don't even think about it.

OOo 2 is pretty good, 1.0 wasn't good enough, but 2.x is. Don't assume OOo 2 is OOo 1, if you've only seen 1, look at 2., they fixed a lot of stuff that didn't work well, as others in this thread have noted. It's still bloated, and needs java installed, personally I don't like it's bloat, but it works very well now. They still need to get the startup times down more, but that will come, look at Mozilla 1.0 versus Firefox 1.0.7, the same issues were there and were resolved fairly quickly.

Interestingly, whereas ms was able to maintain its desktop os and office monopoly, their new mandatory online registration is going to keep joe neighbor from coming over to your house and installing office 2003 for you like he did say with Office 2000 or 97, which hooks you in. Now you must pay, unless joe neighbor's son knows what to do ;-)

Now if you want a real office suite, and you don't want to pay $200 or so, you can use OOo and it will work just fine. So in this case I think change will come from the bottom, I don't know of a single average consumer who cares at all about all the extra junk MS is throwing into office, and they most definitely do not want to spend 2-300 on something they'll just use to open word documents. I don't remember the exact number of corporations that aren't interested in 'upgrading' from office 97, it's good enough, there's no need for most secretaries to have more, they don't use it.

By the way, the new abiword just came out, it's getting really good, not OOo level of slickness, but it just made a massive jump up in quality, it's actually amazing if you've been following it, and it's very small and very fast, not bloat ware like OOo.

.doc importation is still a bit glitchy, but a massive improvement over the last version, switching away from commercial software is getting easier and easier all the time. [anyone checked out fireworks mx? it's a piece of total s#$t, I dumped it and went back to 4]. The model of adding more and more 'features' users don't need while adding more and more dollars to the price of the software is not going to last forever.

But the real kickers will be that if you want to deal with an increasing number of states and countries, mass, norway, peru come to mind, germany france not far behind, you'll be using oasis open doc format, which currently MS refuses to support, so you won't be using MS office.

Re google and sun, yawn, lots of talk, currently sun will release the google toolbar with sun desktop, WOW! that's really some jump, I'll wait to see even one realworld web based consumer app, google doesn't even have gmail in open release yet.

<added> whoops, missed the second two pages of the thread before posting, hope I'm not being redundant...

nice post, 66, Brett, have to agree almost completely with your points.


11:54 pm on Oct 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

The Google-Sun news have a lot of hype plus a bit of survival strategy.

"Google just launched the first full scale frontal assault Microsoft has seen since Java."

The full scale frontal assault has been already made by Microsoft:

1. MS-AOL settlement.

2. MS-AOL talks.

3. The IE7 search box.

4. Windows Vista.


9:14 am on Oct 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator mack is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I have been using OpenOffice for about three years. Up until now I have been using version 1.xx

Aftter reading this thread I downloaded version 2. If you have never used OpenOffice, or if you are still using an older version I highly recoment updating, or trying version 2. Really, it is a very different app.

As for learning curve, I will go back on what I said. With version 2 I really don't see OOo being any more difficuly for employees to learn and master.

This realy is free software at it's best.



8:23 pm on Oct 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Just noticed a marketwatch article on G-news about the sun-google announcement. The author, John Dvorak, writes about the announcement:

"To me this is the biggest non-news story I've seen for maybe the past six months."


8:53 pm on Oct 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

dvorak has historically sided with microsoft regardless of the issue. It is not surprising he would this time too.


10:01 pm on Oct 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I strongly agree with Brett's perspective. I think this is a very important move by Google.

1. Both Windows and Office are extremely overpriced relative to the price that would prevail if they didn't enjoy a monopoly.

2. The marginal cost of producing software is close to zero. Marginal cost is the level toward which prices would normally gravitate in an intensely competitive market.

3. Zero is the price of both Linux and OpenOffice.

4. Nearly all of the income Microsoft generates it receives from the sale of these 2 products.

5. Microsoft is vulnerable to attack by virtue of points 1 through 4 above.

6. If Google is smart (and I think it might be) it will go on offense against Microsoft, rather than just stay on the defensive.

7. The best way to attack Microsoft is to undermine its monopoly income stream; given points 1 - 4, it can potentially accomplish this by convincing enough people to stop buying Microsoft software, and to instead use free copies of Linux, OpenOffice, Thunderbird, and Firefox.

If you're wondering why does any of this matter to webmasters?

Microsoft is coming after Google and Yahoo in the search market with all guns blazing.

Google may be the first firm Microsoft has ever competed with that has both the capital resources and the savvy to survive such a battle, and to just possibly destroy Microsoft rather than vice versa.

For both Google and Microsoft this is an enormously important competitive battle. In fact, the outcome of this competitive battle could have a profound influence on the way people use the internet, particularly if Microsoft were to succeed with the sort of "winner takes all" strategy it pursued and won in the OS and office application markets.

Consider a world in which 95% of all users rely on the tools built into Windows Vista to find stuff on the net.

Traditional bookmarking practices could fade away, most people would never know about or find websites unless they are prominent in the Vista search results, etc.

We often get frustrated with traffic fluctuations resulting from changes to Google's algorithms - intended or not. Imagine how much greater the impact on webmasters if if Google and Yahoo were gone, and Microsoft were the only firm left standing in the internet access/search market. Microsoft, in its gentle wisdom, would decide what portions of the web are visible to 95% of the users.


11:51 pm on Oct 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I don't see why people are so willing to back Google, personally I really don't see them as the lesser of two evils. Google wants there software on your computer so they'll know everytime you get up to take a pee and to know your late night surfing habits. Give MS money for over priced software or download Googles so they know eveything I do? I think either way I get screwed.


12:23 am on Oct 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I like the way you think SK :)
But I like to see 2 Giants fighting. Much better than 2 Giants working together :)
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