Google steps into Sun’s galaxy

But the tide may finally be turning in Sun’s favour. It has been demonstrating a lot of innovation prowess of late, so, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that it has aligned itself with a company that has made its fortune allowing people all over the world to unearth information. And let’s face it, joining forces with the like-minded is always a good strategy, especially when you’re facing a common enemy in the form of Microsoft.Earlier this month, Sun and Google agreed to a multi-year arrangement to promote the Java Runtime Environment (JRE), the Google Toolbar and the productivity suite. Under the agreement, Sun will include the Google Toolbar as an option in its consumer downloads of the Java Runtime Environment on
“Working with Google will make our technologies available more broadly, increase options for user, lower barriers, and expand participation worldwide,” said Scott McNealy, Sun CEO during a Webcast on Oct. 4.
The move will surely send a few shock waves through the halls of Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash. The Sun/Google alliance will ultimately look to cash in on the corporate user desktop space, an arena Microsoft has dominated for what seems like an eternity. And though no specific announcements were made regarding a Web-based version of OpenOffice, Google CEO Eric Schmidt hinted that it’s not out of the realm of possibilities.
“It makes sense that these boundaries (between the Web and office software suites) become less obvious as the technology for Web services improves.”
When the notice of the joint press conference arrived in my inbox on Oct. 3, I paid a visit to Sun President Jonathan Schwartz’s blog to see if I could uncover any clues as to the big announcement. And sure enough, Schwartz warned readers that the world of desktop applications was about to experience a dramatic shift.
“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?”
This is an arrangement where both parties stand to benefit enormously. The Google toolbar will be downloaded by tens of millions of new users, while Sun will enjoy the increased marketing muscle of Google as well as extend an already “significant” hardware deal.
And if anyone has the stuff it takes to unseat Microsoft — or at least give it a good run for the money — from its cozy place in the corporate desktop world, it’s Google. From its humble beginnings just seven years ago as a tool for retrieving information from a massive set of data, Google became the search engine of choice for more than 80 million people every month.
And now it looks as though McNealy’s longstanding proclamation of the network as the computer is finally coming to pass. Google on, Scott.

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