StarOffice 8 Ready For Massachusetts Customers

    September 26, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

The forthcoming release of version 8 will compete with Microsoft by being more compatible with Office formats while supporting the OpenDocument format.

StarOffice ended its beta test of version 8 almost six months ago, and Sun will finally make it available tomorrow. The New York Times reports that Sun will comply with requests from some of its bigger customers to include compatibility with Office features like spreadsheet macros in Excel.

The new suite should price at $99.95 for the boxed version, with a discount for downloaders. In the article, Sun notes this will be the first commercial suite on the market with native support for the OpenDocument format.

That support has proven a contentious point for Microsoft in its negotiations with the state of Massachusetts. The Old Bay State wants documents created or saved by its workers to be done so in OpenDocument format, which Microsoft has stated it will not support.

The impact of that decision goes beyond just the state government. Vendors and other parties who could live with Office compatibility while having OpenDocument support on their desktops could be inclined to eschew future Microsoft Office upgrades.

Sun isn’t the only company to try for some of that open standards business. IBM has similar designs on gaining at Microsoft’s expense, and supports OpenDocument with its client/server Workplace suite.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.