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Sun Microsystems Inc. on Wednesday released a version of its StarOffice 7 office productivity suite for the Solaris x86 platform.

StarOffice 7 for the Solaris operating system x86 platform is priced at $79.95 and is available via download. The software is targeted at those customers wanting an alternative to the Microsoft Windows desktop solution.

Today’s announcement underscores Sun’s continuing commitment to offer customers choice while addressing the growing worldwide demand for alternative desktop solutions, John Loiacono, Sun vice president of operating platforms, told eWeek in an interview on Wednesday.

While Sun was taking its software and putting this on multiple platforms, it was also making sure that its software ran “first and foremost on Sun’s platforms. We shipped the Java Enterprise System on both x86 and Sparc hardware, and we had StarOffice running on Sparc, Linux and Windows.

Meanwhile, Sun continues to report customer and partner momentum for both its StarOffice productivity suite and for Solaris on the x86 platform. The Santa Clara, Calif. company also announced on Wednesday that one of the largest insurers in India, the United India Insurance Company, had replaced 10,000 Microsoft Office desktops with StarOffice software to gain increased functionality at a more economical price point.

This follows Sun’s recent announcement of a multimillion dollar deal with Sourcenext Corp., a leading Japanese computer products distributor, to provide the Japanese version of StarOffice, known as StarSuite 7, to 15,000 retail locations in Japan and via Internet downloads.

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