The war between Apple and Microsoft must really have started. Other explanations not only explain the broadcasts that the two companies fired in recent days but the unexpected news that Sun and Cupertino have reached an agreement for the release of a version for Mac OS X of Star Office.
To spread the news was the Sun weave, unconfirmed, but not denied, directly from Apple.
"We think that a version of Star Office for Mac – said Sun's director of desktop solutions, Tony Siress – will be sufficiently complete by the end of the year. Until recently, Apple was somewhat reluctant to work with us following their Microsoft relationship, but now Microsoft is exaggerating and Apple is preparing for a head-on collision. "
“Apple – was the not too cryptic response of Brian Cole, Cupertino's software marketing manager – works intensely with numerous Open Source developers. We are seriously committed to helping the community develop code and bring it to our platform. I think Open Office and StarOffice are also part of this strategy "
The news that Apple and Sun are somehow interested in a collaborative relationship on StarOffice, but above all that Sun's productivity suite will also arrive for Mac, are, as mentioned, another direct blow to the relations between the Apple company and Redmond. StarOffice in fact considered, for its characteristics its files are compatible with those of Microsoft, and for its marketing methods (it is offered at a very low price and for some sectors such as teaching and certain categories of private users even free) only serious contender of Office.
In the past Sun had given StarOffice code to the Open Source community to produce a version of Open Office for Mac OS X but had always denied that it wanted to make a Mac version directly.
At the moment there seem to be some technical difficulties, in particular the support of the Mac OS X Aqua interface, totally different from the standard OpenOffice interface, and the use of the Quartz graphic engine. The hope that the two teams at work, that of Sun and that of Apple, will soon be able to overcome any obstacle and proceed quickly.
Meanwhile, some interesting details on product marketing are already emerging. According to some sources, Sun's plans foresee the release of a Java version of StarOffice by the end of the year; subsequently, probably by 2003, a commercial version will be released. This second version, which will be a more complete product, could be sold for a fee. In reality, however, there may be an intention by Apple to bundle StarOffice for Mac with all professional machines, as well as with consumer machines AppleWorks is granted.
To let this hypothesis shine through, Siress himself: “I don't want to sell StarOffice – says the product manager – I want to give the code to Apple for Apple to distribute it in bundles.
I wish if we could work together with their team and apple would carry out the distribution at no cost. Nobody can make an Apple product better than Apple itself "