Google and Sun Microsystems have entered into a strategic agreement that will see them collaborate on new products.
The subtext is simple - they are after Microsoft.
Analysts have been divided on the significance of the move, saying that initial promises between the two don't really amount to much. Sun has promised to include Google's Toolbar in its Java programming tools - useful for programmers, but not much else. Google has agreed to think about
buying new Sun servers to power its search engine, which could mean that Sun gets some cash.
More interesting is their agreement to pool resources to develop more technology and applications. Sun has its OpenOffice application, which is a great word processor, but hardly an Office killer.
Speculation is that Google will be using its 'Web 2.0' expertise, having cut its teeth on Gmail, to work with Sun to bring a suite of Office apps to the web. By taking productivity from the Microsoft realm of the desktop to the Google realm of the web, Google and Sun are hoping not to take on Microsoft at its own game, but to move the goalposts onto a pitch it controls.
There is a lot of history between the main players at the firms. Sun is run by Scott McNealy, who has been bashed around by Microsoft in the past in the server arena. Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, was previously at Sun and then Novell, where he also got bashed by MS. It seems as if both believe it's now payback time for Microsoft - although we're cautious on their chances of actually making a strong play in Microsoft's forte.
There's a great article over at Time magazine
which goes into more depth.
Do you think Google and Sun can take on Microsoft? What's next, operating systems? Give your thoughts.