Sun misses release target for StarOffice 8

Sun Microsystems' Star Office 8 will be released later than expected.

Sun Microsystems has missed the original target date for its release of StarOffice 8, according to its Web site.

Sun originally scheduled a July release for the next version of StarOffice, its productivity software suite that competes with Microsoft's Office System, according to information published on its site. But the release is not yet available, and a U.S.-based Sun spokesman Tuesday declined to reveal when it will be released.

However, an article published Friday in the U.K. claimed that Sun plans to make StarOffice 8 available on Sept. 12 at one of its quarterly launches. The report was based on comments made by Simon Schouten, the U.K. desktop sales manager for Sun.

According to Sun's spokesman, Schouten's remarks were inappropriate because he is not in a position to comment or have information about the release of StarOffice 8. However, the spokesman would not go so far as to say that Schouten's remarks were inaccurate.

In February, Sun previewed a beta release of StarOffice 8 at the Linuxworld Conference & Expo in Boston. StarOffice is based on the open-source productivity suite OpenOffice, the most stable version of which, OpenOffice 1.1.4, is currently available on the group's Web site, www.openoffice.org. A beta version of the next full version of the suite, 2.0, also is available on the site.

Sun has made a big deal out of its customers switching from Microsoft Office to StarOffice, particularly outside of the U.S. But those tables were turned recently when the Central Scotland Police decided to remove StarOffice from about 400 PCs and install Office instead, citing lower maintenance costs and the need to interoperate more smoothly with other departments running Windows.

According to Sun's Web site, the vendor will address cross-platform compatibility issues with Microsoft applications in StarOffice 8. The next version of the suite will feature better usability, enhanced manageability and more compatibility with Microsoft Office, according to Sun.

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