Free Office suite on verge of a million downloads

Sun goes stellar as its free Microsoft Office alternative, StarOffice, looks set to hit a million downloads this week

StarOffice, the much-lauded free alternative to Microsoft's ubiquitous Office software package is closing in on the million download mark, with the number of pulled-down copies reaching 983,205 this morning.

The suite was acquired in early Autumn by Sun Microsystems. According to Sun's website, the software is piling on download numbers at a rate in excess of 10,000 copies per day worldwide.

Sun offers StarOffice for free over the Internet in the hope of pulling users away from Microsoft Office, which can cost upward of £180 in the High Street. Sun CEO Scott McNealy recently claimed his newly acquired office software racked up 250,000 downloads in its first week. "In the first week and a half since we launched it, we've had over a quarter of a million people download it for free, said Sun CEO Scott McNealy at a September Internet conference organised by IDC. "This is the way you change the computing model. "

Microsoft has sold millions of copies of its Office suite and has 90 percent market share in that business. But it has come under pressure by a movement to provide software for free, most notably the loudly reported OS battle between Windows and Linux, also available for free from the Internet.

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