Open your wallets for next StarOffice

In a move that could undercut its anti-Microsoft campaign, Sun Microsystems plans to start charging for the next version of its StarOffice software, a suite of programs that competes with Microsoft Office but runs on Linux and Solaris as well as on Windows.

Sun has been offering StarOffice as a free download since acquiring the German company Star Division in 1999. But Sun plans to start charging for version 6.0, due to arrive in the second half of May, a source familiar with the plan said.

Sun declined to comment on the matter. "We aren't announcing any pricing changes for StarOffice," said spokesman Russ Castronovo.

German publisher Heise Online, however, quoted Martin Haerling, a Sun marketing director, as saying the move would allow Sun to fund long-term advancement of the product. The company would charge for Linux and Windows versions of StarOffice but keep the Solaris version free, the publication said.

News source: ZDNet News

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