Feeds

Star challenges MS Office with Linux, Windows freeware

German outfit Star Division wants to have 10 million personal users in a year

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

German software outfit Star Division is aiming to hit Microsoft where it hurts, by giving away its StarOffice 5.0 productivity suite for free. The highly-regarded software is available on Linux, naturally, but the company also offers it in Windows 9x/NT, Solaris, OS/2 and Java flavours. Star Division claims to have sold 3 million copies of StarOffice world-wide since 1995, and is aiming for a minimum of 10 million personal users by the end of next year. It announced the free offer (Available here and here) quietly in Germany a couple of weeks back, but only went public internationally within the last few days. The company is claiming to have had 200,000 downloads since the German offer opened. One of the big problems Star Division's move will present for Microsoft is that the German company's product is highly mature, and competent. It's been in development for several years, and historians will note that the OS/2 version was some years back one of the great missed opportunities of IBM's OS/2 'hearts and minds' programme. IBM very nearly bundled it with OS/2, but lost the plot by buying in productivity software instead - IBM, the company that supports our ISVs, right? The other big problem for Microsoft is that StarOffice is cross-platform, so if it takes off big-time, as Star Division intends, it'll support platform leakage from Windows to alternatives. It includes WP, graphics, presentation, database front end, HTML editor, mail/news reader, scheduler, charting and formula editor, and claims interoperability with Office products up to Office 2000. Star Division has moved its HQ to the US, and intends to IPO next year - so how does it make money? The free version is the StarOffice 5.0 Personal Edition, but the giveaway model is being followed with a Deluxe version on CD with manual and support plus extras for $39.95. The "Personal Edition" tag is significant for both of these, as they're intended for personal users. For commercial users there's a Professional Edition at $169, and an extendable five user licence for $499. Star Division is also making it clear where it thinks it's heading by splitting commercial licence models into two categories: Business Licence and Enterprise Licence. The latter adds support and consulting services, and is clearly pitched at the corporate customers that Microsoft has run just about everybody out of. ®

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.