Dutch flock to SorryGates.com for free StarOffice

During a two-week period, Dutch computer users ordered over 10,000 copies of Sun Microsystems Inc.'s free productivity software suite StarOffice 5.2, according to a Sun distributor. The software was ordered from a special Web site set up by Tplc Nederland in response to Microsoft Corp.'s new licensing scheme.

The promotional event, centered around a Web site with the Web address SorryGates.com, started late June and was so successful that the CDs ran out, according to Christiaan van Nispen tot Sevenaar, spokesman for distributor Tplc Nederland.

"We placed ads in two national newspapers and sent out some news releases, the response was so overwhelming that we had to limit the offer to downloads only for a short period of time," he said.

The campaign was triggered by Microsoft's plan to revamp its licensing policies. The new policies could lead to a significant cost increase for companies using Microsoft software, according to many experts. StarOffice 5.2 is a complete office suite and fully compatible Microsoft's Office, according to Tplc Nederland.

"Microsoft's new licensing model is a serious issue, so we decided come up with a pointed way to bring StarOffice to people's attention," said Van Nispen tot Sevenaar, adding that requests for the software have come from individual consumers as well as from business users.

StarOffice has long been available for free download from Sun's Web site. The offer to mail a CD was added for this special offer. The software is given away for free. Larger companies will want added services, such as training, which Sun can offer at a cost, Van Nispen tot Sevenaar said.

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