Sun's StarOffice 8 Could Give MS A Challenge - InformationWeek

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Sun's StarOffice 8 Could Give MS A Challenge

Offering many of the same features as the ubiquitous Microsoft Office suite, StarOffice could prove to be a low-cost alternative.

Sun Microsystems is renewing its efforts to wrest market share from Microsoft Office with the release of StarOffice 8. The new version--Sun's first upgrade of the suite in a year and a half--offers greater compatibility with Office and an interface that will make most Microsoft users feel right at home. Sun's office-app effort also will get a major boost from Microsoft rival Google, which will distribute Sun software, including the open-source OpenOffice suite.

StarOffice now can handle more complex macros from Excel and open a password-protected file from Office 2003. The suite comes with PDF-conversion capabilities, and its PowerPoint counterpart can import Microsoft files, though there are some font glitches. (click here for more on StarOffice features.)

If you've considered StarOffice as a low-cost replacement for Office, give this latest release a look. Most of us only use a fraction of Office's features, and there is a good chance StarOffice 8 contains many more than you need. Unlike Office, it runs not only on Windows, but also on Linux, Solaris and MacOS. Be sure to first test StarOffice 8 vigorously to ensure it handles the features you use. If you exchange complex documents with Office users, make sure it does the conversions adequately in both directions. --Peter Morrissey

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