Microsoft and Sun Microsystems have signed an agreement whereby users of Microsoft Internet Explorer who download Sun's Java Runtime Environment (JRE) package, will be offered the option to download Microsoft's own MSN toolbar.
The move, it is understood, will see MSN replace Google as the default search bar in JRE and will only apply to Internet Explorer users in the United States.
Whether this will give Microsoft a welcomed boost remains to be seen but with probably almost one billion Java installations on desktops and mobile phones worldwide, chances are that Microsoft folks must be quite content with their newly found love for Sun Microsystems.
Microsoft and Sun have had a pretty rough relationship over the years; in 1997, Sun sued Microsoft over the use of Java technology, a case which was closed in 2001 but reopened in 2002 until Microsoft coughed up nearly $2 billion.
In a seemingly related (retaliatory?) move, Google has apparently ditched Sun Microsystems's Staroffice business suite from its Google Pack software package (which was not exactly enticing in the first place anyway).
Nonetheless, given the fact that StarOffice cost $69.95, some might say that Google has lost a massive selling point - although Google could possibly throw in OpenOffice.org which is basically the same, without some templates and cliparts.
Or it could just be that Google is waiting for StarOffice 9 to be launched on November 19th. Anyway, Google has the whole array of Google Docs applications, most of which can be used offline using Google Gears.
Search distribution deal expands reach of Microsoft Live Search via custom MSN Toolbar
Java, the integrated development environment from Sun Microsystems
This is the Setup options panel for the Windows Installer for Java
The Google Pack as of this morning - without Sun Microsystems Star Office
Microsoft and Google Share prices as of this morning. Google is down heavily while Microsoft is stable
Staroffice Business Suite, worth $70 and possibly kicked out of Software Pack