MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Google Inc. (GOOG) took a big step toward challenging Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) dominance in computer word-processing and spreadsheets with the announcement Tuesday that it would distribute Java technology from Sun Microsystems Inc (SUNW).
The move will let Google create or offer programs that could take on Microsoft Corp.'s industry-leading Office suite.
Under the deal, Google will distribute Java along with the search company's toolbar application, the two companies announced.
The deal, whose terms were not disclosed, would make it easier for PC users to run applications based on the Java programming language. That includes the free productivity suite OpenOffice, a challenger to Office, a major cash cow for Microsoft (search).
"Working with Google will make our technologies more available more broadly, increase options for users, lower barriers and expand participation worldwide," said Scott McNealy, Sun's chief executive officer.
Eric Schmidt (search), Google's chief executive, said the deal opens up the possibility of additional collaboration between the companies.
"Google and Java are two of the most widely recognized technology brands because they provide users with online tools that enhance their lives on a day to day basis," he said. "We look forward to exploring other areas of collaboration."
Under the deal, Sun's Java Runtime Engine will be offered as an option to users who download the toolbar application that allows users to quickly run searches and find other information from Google.
The toolbar currently works only on computers running Microsoft Internet Explorer and the Firefox browser.