Sun Releases StarOffice 9

Mikael Ricknäs, IDG News Service

Monday, November 17, 2008 11:00 AM PST

Support for Mac OS X and improved document format support are some of the improvements in Sun Microsystems' StarOffice 9, which was released on Monday.

It was a natural step for the Office suite to support Mac OS X, because of its increased popularity and because Apple users shouldn't be excluded from the move to open document formats, said Kent Åberg, business development manager for education and research at Sun Northern and Central Europe.

The support for many document formats is one of the main reasons customers should pick StarOffice, according to Sun. In addition to its native Open Document Format, it has support for Microsoft Office -- both legacy and new OOXML files -- and for PDF (Portable Document Format), so that such documents can be imported and edited.

Being able to open and edit more document formats without having to buy a number of different programs is becoming more important, according to Åberg.

"Otherwise, you can't get to your own information without buying the same software as the person who created the document," Aberg said.

Another important part of StarOffice 9 is improved support for extensions, which adds features including the ability to edit PDF files, create reports, blog and publish wikis.

Other changes in StarOffice 9 include a new start center, which gathers all the different tools in a way that's easy for the user to understand, and the addition of Mozilla's Thunderbird e-mail client and Lightning extension for calendaring.

Toppling Microsoft Office has so far proved very difficult for Sun, but Åberg is still hopeful.

"The interest in software based on open source is greater than ever, and more organizations, companies and people are starting to look at products which challenge established truths," he said.

But there are still those who hesitate to go with open-source software because they think that full support isn't available, according to Åberg.

StarOffice had less than 1 percent of the global market last year, and its free twin OpenOffice.org also had a relatively small installed base of approximately 5 percent, according to Gartner.

OpenOffice.org also had a 5 percent market share among U.S. Internet users over age 18, according to a survey done between May and November of this year by market researcher ClickStream Technologies.

Google Docs had a 1 percent market share in the same study.

StarOffice 9 and StarSuite 9, which is the Asian language counterpart, are available for US$34.95, compared to $69.95 for the previous version of the office suite.

Volume pricing for the enterprise starts at $25 per user. Enterprises can also choose to subscribe to a package that includes licensing and support, and comes in one- and three-year terms.

OpenOffice.org 3.0, available free, includes the same features as StarOffice 9. The OpenOffice.org update was announced Oct. 13 and was downloaded 3 million times in its first week of availability.

Community Comments
hmccorkle says:
Mon Nov 17 11:08:04 PST 2008

"Otherwise, you can't get to your own information without buying the same software as the person who created the document," Aberg said.

I could not agree more. Great statement.

hmccorkle says:
Mon Nov 17 12:32:44 PST 2008

Thinking about this again, and after hearing the latest Tech Guy podcast from Leo LaPorte, I would really love to see StarOffice ported to the iPhone.

Sign in to post a comment. New to PC World Comments? Register here.

PC World's Marketplace

PC World's Free Whitepapers

Business Center News
Featured Resources

Premier Content From Our Sponsors

Featured Whitepapers

White papers, case studies and product info from top brands

  • What is Application Lifecycle Management?
    ALM is much more than just writing code. All three aspects—governance, development, and operations are important. Maximizing the value of the applications we create means doing all three aspects of ALM well. Achieving this goal isn’t easy, especially when today’s ALM tools aren’t as well integrated as they could be. Yet there’s no way around it: Taking a broad, holistic view of ALM is essential for improving this critical business process.
Featured Webcasts

Watch webcast presentations and videos from industry thought leaders on today's most important business and technology topics. For free.