Sun and Google executives said they would also jointly promote the Java runtime environment (JRE), which is used to run Java-based programs on the desktop, as well as open source technologies such as the productivity suite. “What Netscape did for Java runtime, we believe the JRE can do for Google,” said Sun Microsystems chief executive Scott McNealy. “They both just super-charged and turbo-charged each other.”
Google will also become a major Sun customer through the partnership, McNealy said, hinting that the search giant may invest in more of Sun’s server equipment. That would mark a shift for Google, which has tended to favour low-cost, redundant server systems.
Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive and a Sun employee for 14 years, said the partnership would give the company considerable reach. Google already uses Java “all over the place,” he said. Google has been involved with a number of Java-related projects submitted through the Java Community Process, of which Sun is a steward, which governs the way Java standards evolve.
“The Google toolbar will be downloaded by tens of millions of people,” Schmidt said. “We’ll have a new set of users that will increase the demand for features for search and additional monetization of advertising.”
IDC Canada analyst David Senf said the partnership would align Sun with a keystone in the industry which could cascade into other organizations. Google will also benefit from exposure in JRE, he said.
“As we look towards Windows Vista, Office 12 and as Microsoft beefs up its offering around MSN, it’s important from a competitive standpoint that Google extend itself on the desktop,” he said. Google has already managed to score an important place in Firefox, which has been taking market share away from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, he said. “This kind of extends the metaphor outside of the browser into the rich client.”
Sun is trying to reposition itself as a leader in creating open standards-based network environments. While the company thrived during the late 1990s as demand for its servers and workstations skyrocketed, it has suffered declining revenue and has been slow to recover.

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