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Sun aims to oust MSOffice from UK schools

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Updated Sun is aiming to persuade schools to ditch Microsoft Office in favour of its StarOffice productivity suite, with a marketing campaign launched today.

The new StarOffice 6.0 education licenses mean that the software is offered at cost (£23 for the a CD, support documents and shipping) to all eligible schools in the UK and Ireland. The package comes without "forced upgrade paths or multiple user licenses", Sun notes in a clear dig at the Redmond alternative.

By switching to StarOffice, primary and Secondary schools in the UK and Ireland could collectively save up to £48 million per year on software licenses, Sun estimates. Sun comes by this figure by extrapolating average savings of £2,000 per school from responses to the offer it has received to date.

Money saved could be spent on other IT initiatives, Sun helpfully points out.

Schools deploying OpenOffice wouldn't have to worry about licensing fees and would be able to obtain the software simply by downloading it, possibly saving even more. But they miss out on convenience and the support services offered to StarOffice license holders.

Sun's UK Education division has set up a dedicated Web site for schools, to register for a free licence and find out more about Sun's StarOffice 6.0 software. Thanks to Reg readers for finding this URL.

But what about the rest of the world?

A Sun spokesman said that the UK and Ireland were the first region to introduce the marketing programme. It's unclear if similar education licensing schemes pushes will be introduced globally, though this seems to be the intention. In June, Sun announced a no-cost licensing for StarOffice to education and research institutions, but not details on how this would be fulfilled locally.

For now, Sun is pointing teachers outside the UK and Ireland towards OpenOffice. ®

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