StarOffice in the palm of your hand - Boerries

Sun's free productivity applications will be available for access over the Web from April or May 2000. You'll find them on some surprising hardware platforms...

Marco Boerries, founder of Star Division, the German software developer bought by Sun in August, said the StarOffice suite will be developed for WAP phones, 3Com PalmPilots and Symbian devices to enable access to applications and data from virtually anywhere a dial-up connection is available.

StarOffice includes word processing, spreadsheet, database, and presentation modules that are file-compatible with Microsoft Office closely mimicking its look and feel. "We believe that the classic business model where you pay $300 (£183) for an application and $200 every three months to update it is pretty much over," said Boerries, who is now vice president of Webtop and application software at Sun. "Most devices connected to the Internet will not be PCs, they will be cellphones, Palm Pilots, Symbians, set-top boxes."

Applications will be delivered to users through portal sites developed by enterprises, application service providers and ISPs.

Boerries also promised that Star will not ditch its multi-platform development policy that has seen versions of StarOffice developed for Windows NT and OS/2 as well as Linux. "A lot of people start out on Linux or NT but we believe that as utilisation goes up, these servers will run into the wall and then people will go to a real server environment."

Boerries also announced plans to secure all StarOffice documents using PGP, a widely used technology for encrypting files. He added that he expects to have over two million users of StarOffice, which is available free on CD-ROM, by the end of the year.

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