Feeds

Sun seeks many Davids for MS Office fight

Preps XML standards for desktop

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Sun Microsystems Inc is hatching a set of XML data standards for use in desktop productivity applications, in attempt to unseat Microsoft Corp's domination of office applications,

Gavin Clarke writes

.

Palo Alto, California-based Sun said Friday it is working on a set of potential standards with a series of un-named partners, and the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS).

No date has yet been set of submission of the standards to OASIS, as the company said it is first seeking a critical mass of support.

Sun software group's recently appointed chief technology officer John Fowler said the goal is to open up data held on desktops running Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft's Office. He believes a set of standards-based XML specifications would enable greater interoperability of third-parties' products, such as Sun's StarOffice 6.0, with Office.

Microsoft's roadmap is to embedded XML in Office. But Fowler said Microsoft's support XML does not necessarily enable greater interoperability between Office and other suites because Microsoft retains the power to alter its own data formats.

"Compatibility with Microsoft Office formats is extraordinarily challenging, because they can change what the blobs are," he told a press and analysts' gathering in San Francisco, California, on Friday.

Fowler believes a set of industry-backed XML-based data specifications would enable challengers, especially in the Linux and open source community, to realistically take on Microsoft. Fowler envisioned a scenario in which "lots of Davids" take on the Goliath.

Past challenges have failed to materialize. Sun first took on Office with StarOffice 5.2, based on OpenOffice. Compatibility with Office formats, though, was poor. "Products prior to OpenOffice 1.0 [the foundation of StarOffice 6.0] have been deficient," Fowler said.

Once standards for data formats are established, Sun believes two factors will drive development of Office rivals. One is increased maturity of open source browsers such as Mozilla and the Linux operating system - Fowler cited Red Hat 7.3 and SuSE 8.0 as good examples, which he said have "reasonable" install and management.

The second factor is Microsoft's new licensing program, especially Software Assurance which Fowler called a "wake-up call". "Customers have realized they have a platform... where their mission critical activities are completely bound into... a system, where a company can execute what ever licensing they want," he said.

© ComputerWire.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.