StarOffice Does Boffo Business in Germany

Thanks to German software distributor Markement, Sun has sold more than a million copies of StarOffice in Germany.

The sales of Sun Microsystems Inc.s StarOffice productivity suite are a shadow of Microsoft Offices. Still, prospects looked brighter Thursday as Sun announced that German OEM software distributor Markement GmbH has sold more than a million copies of StarOffice.

Markement, based in Stuttgart, Germany, sells StarOffice both as a standalone program and as part of its popular PCSuite office bundle. This German productivity package also includes CorelDraw Essentials, Norton Anti-Virus 2004 and Marco Polo TravelRouting Europe 2004, a European travel-planning program.

While StarOffice runs on many operating systems, Markement sells the Windows version.

The German software vendor sets up PCSuite 2004 as a direct rival to Microsoft Works Suite 2004. This German office suite from Microsoft has no direct equivalent in the U.S. market. It includes Word 2002, the spreadsheet offering from Microsoft Works 7, Picture It Premium 2002, Autoroute 2004 and Encarta 2004.

"StarOffice productivity suite has proven to be one of the most popular applications in PCSuite, and therefore serves as the cornerstone of our offering," said Stephen W. Keck, Markements managing director. "Our success further validates that StarOffice software is ready for the global mainstream market. We expect millions more copies to be sold through our distribution channel."

Sun also noted that it has seen millions of downloads worldwide of StarOffice and its open-source little brother, For example, most recently, Sun announced a 10,000-seat win with the United India Insurance Company and an agreement with the Indian state government of Haryana. Sun also announced a multimillion-dollar deal with SourceNext Corp., a leading Japanese computer products distributor, to distribute the Japanese version of StarOffice software, StarSuite 7, to 15,000 Japanese retail locations and via Internet downloads earlier this year. In addition, Suns Java Desktop System, which is based on StarOffice, has also seen tremendous momentum with recent government agreements with the Peoples Republic of China and the United Kingdom.

"Enterprises across the world continue to view the Java Desktop System, and our StarOffice productivity suite, as core to their ability to lower costs, increase security and drive reliability into their currently brittle and insecure Windows environment," said Jonathan Schwartz, Suns executive vice president of software, in a prepared statement. "A fundamental shift in the desktop software landscape is upon us; StarOffice software and Suns Java Desktop System have been the catalysts responsible for bringing about these changes in marketplace dynamics."

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