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Technology sites were buzzing this week after a link up was announced between Google and Sun Microsystems - Microsoft’s chief rival in office software.
The immediate substance of the announcement couldn’t live up to the expectations of members of the blogosphere hoping for an alliance strong enough to snuff out Microsoft’s long-running dominance of the software market.
But the jury was far from out on what the long-term consequences of the alliance could mean for Bill Gates and company.
Under terms of the widely expected announcement, Sun Microsystems - Microsoft’s biggest software rival - and Google on Tuesday announced a multiyear partnership and software distribution deal.
The companies will cooperate to make it easier for consumers to acquire Sun’s Java runtime, Google’s Toolbar and the OpenOffice.org desktop suite.
Some commentators described the the plans to launch free spreadsheet and word-processing software - with Google will allowing web users to access Sun’s OpenOffice from a toolbar - as no less than the search engine’s declaration of war against Microsoft.
Of the 6,000 blog entries on the subject, Slashdot wishful thinkers were working themselves up into a froth of excitement ahead of the announcement - followed by a few reality checkers post the deal.
Others were downright dismissive. Eweek’s Steven Vaughan-Nichols poured scorn on the tie-up, saying it offered nothing concrete.
“So did we get Google Office, based on Star Office 8? Or, Google Office, based on OpenOffice.org 2.0? Or, the one I would have put money on, Google Office, based on Java Desktop System…It was none of the above.”
“This was not news,” he added acidly.
Forbes magazine described the announcement as “overblown” and “vague” and offering little of benefit for Sun and no “definitive threat” to Microsoft.
Infoweek was a little less scathing, hinting that the deal could provide the kernel of a product to take on Office.
Everyone agreed, however, that to ignore developments between Google and Microsoft would be folly as their paths are sure to cross one day.
Singing from different price tags
Meanwhile news that digital music sales soared in the first six months of the year won’t necessarily be music to Microsoft’s ears as it struggles to get its own online subscription service up and running.
Its plans are unravelling in the face of financial demands from the four largest music companies. Microsoft wants to charge less than the $6-$8 per user the music giants are demanding so that it can take on rivals like Yahoo.
Blogging for profit or pleasure?
Finally, after news broke that one blogger was earning more than $400,000 a year from his living room and Weblogs Inc Network is apparently about to be sold for over $20 million to AOL, Slashdot posed the question whether it was time for us all to get blogging.
But while there was much disagreement as to whether bloggers were even worth web space let alone a six figure sum - most contributors appeared to concur that it wasn’t time to give up the day job.