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Sun Microsystems is reconsidering the business plan of is StarOffice product, with a chance users may have to pay for the latest version of its office product suite.

A report from German publication Heise Online claims Sun will begin charging for StarOffice when it releases version 6.0 in May. Sun began offering StarOffice as a free download since it acquired the software from German company Star Division in 1999.

The beta version of StarOffice 6.0 was released in October last year. Customers had until the end of December to download the product suite for free. Version 5.2 of the software is still available as a free download from the Sun Web site.

Sun is expected to make a formal announcement on its pricing policy shortly. But Sun locally says full details on the proposed changes are not known and that the company is waiting for verification from the US.

A spokeswoman for the company said the policy is currently under consideration, but the changes have not been disclosed.

"We don't know how it will pan out locally," she said.

More information on the pricing policy for the StarOffice product is expected to become available later today.

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Nadia Cameron

Nadia Cameron

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