Google-Sun Deal Offers No Microsoft Killer

Analysts say the development and distribution partnership will benefit both companies without promising anything as radical as a Google OS.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.—Analysts watching search giant Googles every move came away unimpressed from the announcement of Googles new partnership with Sun Microsystems.

Many came to a Google Inc./Sun Microsystems Inc. news conference here expecting to hear Google declare war against nemesis Microsoft Corp. by releasing a computer operating system of its own.

Instead, analysts said what they heard sounded more like a distribution deal that Google has made many times before.

On Tuesday, the two companies unveiled a multiple year development and distribution partnership.

/zimages/1/28571.gifRead more here about Suns desktop productivity suite StarOffice 8.

Firstly, Googles Toolbar, a montage of Google services embedded in Internet browsers, will soon become a standard element of the Java software Sun offers for download.

Executives from both companies implied that more of Googles services will become available through Suns ubiquitous Java programming language—but those details werent released.

By partnering with Sun in this way, Google has a new way of distributing its increasingly diverse array of software, much of which competes with Microsofts.

But when asked, half-jokingly, where the Google operating system was, a reference to speculation that was next up for Google, Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy dodged the question.

"Were going after revenue growth, profits, growth of customers, ease of use," he said. "Were all about sharing and building a participation age."

Analysts came away from the 90-minute event hungry for more details, and a little disappointed.

"Its good visibility for the two companies," Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group said. "But I was expecting quite a bit more. Im not sure theres a lot of meat under the hood."

Edward Sickel, a senior portfolio manager of Wachovia Corp., made similar comments.

"We see a lot of these collaborations," Sickel said. "What really matters is whats down the road."

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, asked for comment on the analysts criticism, said, "We dont comment on future projects."

/zimages/1/28571.gifCould Google kill Microsoft Office? Read more here.

Sun Microsystems does get an immediate bounce from the collaboration. Google said it plans to buy significantly more of Suns server hardware, presumably for use in its daily operations.

Sun also benefits because any opportunity to collaborate with Wall Street darling Google gives Sun a boost in the eyes of investors.

In the longer term, though, the deal appears to be of more significance for Google.

Because of the alliance, Google said, it expects that services like Google Toolbar will reach tens of millions of more people. The potential exists for a similar boost to other Google offerings.

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