Google + Sun is great, but….

Posted on Wed, Oct. 05, 2005
Google, Sun form alliance
By Therese Poletti
Mercury News

Google and Sun Microsystems said Tuesday they have agreed to promote and distribute each other’s software, a deal that eventually could represent a significant threat to the dominance of their common foe, Microsoft.

The terms of the collaboration were vague. The companies will work together to improve Sun’s OpenOffice software for personal computers, which is a competitor with Microsoft’s Office to provide word processing, spreadsheets and other staples for millions of workers. They also will collaborate on Sun’s Java program for the desktop. (Story.)

For the past three or four years I’ve been wondering something. Sun hates Microsoft and sees beating them as part of their core mission in life. They have their free office package out there and insist that their vendors use it. And they’ve gone after MS hard in the enterprise market.

But it seems to me there’s a logical partner for Sun if they want a piece of MS in the consumer market: Corel. Corel makes a decent office suite that’s headed by the best word processing software in the world (WordPerfect is a good five years ahead of Word, and there are only two or three things I’ve ever found that Word does better than WordPerfect). Further, Corel’s office package is complemented by some solid design tools (Corel Draw was once the industry standard, although it’s now been surpassed by Adobe’s suite). I’ve argued until I’m blue in the face that a merger (or strategic alliance) between these two companies would represent just the ticket for taking MS down a peg, and if you then broaden the field a bit to include integration with, say, Mozilla (which is talking about commercial application) and some other peripherals, it’s easy to see how the consumer space might actually become competitive once again (especially since Corel is already porting the WordPerfect office suite to Linux, if I’m not mistaken).

But it’s not happening. Not even a whisper. And this isn’t an area I’m an expert in, so I imagine there must be a reason why something that strikes me as being this obvious hasn’t happened. Can anybody out there cast a bit of light on the subject for me?


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