Sun, Google to jointly promote each other's platforms

Mountain View (CA) - In what many observers believe to be the beginning of something , without any clear concensus as to what just yet, Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy and Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced a joint promotional arrangement. Starting soon, Sun will agree to include the Google Toolbar as part of its Java Runtime Engine. In exchange, Google will agree to promote Sun’s OpenOffice applications suite.

No further terms of the marketing deal were discussed, although the two chiefs acknowledged that a reverse deal - making the JRE available with downloads of the Google Toolbar - is being considered. The two companies did not announce a joint development deal for any future technologies, as many had anticipated.

Early this afternoon, CNBC quoted analysts attending the meeting as saying that Google’s move could fly in the face of Microsoft’s upcoming expansion of its Office suite. Future application functionality, they foresaw, could be downloaded through Google on an "a la carte " basis, rather than installed permanently on the user’s system. The report noted Sun’s stewardship in Java, and Google’s current experiments in related technologies for its own product offerings.

What the report did not mention, however, was that Google’s experiments do not involve Java, Sun’s programming platform for multiple environments, but instead Asynchronous JavaScript, an open technology based on a programming language for the Web whose syntax is modeled upon Java, but which does not use the Java Runtime Engine. JavaScript was created by Netscape, and Sun does not lead its development, although it does support JavaScript with some tools and documentation. Asynchronous JavaScript (AJAX) is an open technology to endow Web browsers and other client-side applications with more functionality.

The Google/Sun joint announcement today apparently does not concern AJAX, or any Google project that uses AJAX. However, OpenOffice 2.0 does include tools with which users can generate so-called XForms, that are deployable on other users’ systems by means of AJAX.

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