by Peter Galli on November 10, 2008 04:55pm


Microsoft and Sun Microsystems have signed a search distribution deal under which the MSN Toolbar, which is powered by Microsoft Live Search, will be available to U.S.-based Internet Explorer users when they download the Java Runtime Environment.

The agreement, which is effective today, means that Internet Explorer users downloading Sun's JRE will have the option of downloading the MSN Toolbar, giving them one-click access to Live Search and direct access to Windows Live Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger.

Java is already found on 91 percent of Internet-connected PCs worldwide, while the Java Runtime Environment is one of the highest-volume consumer downloads on the Web. There are also some 6.5 million Java software developers and more than 800 million Java desktop users across the globe.

Given the enormous diversity of Java-based Web applications that are downloaded every month, the deal should help drive exposure to, and usage of, Live Search.

It is also being reported today that Google has dropped StarOffice from its Google Pack of free software, though this has not been confirmed by the company as yet. But this makes sense since Google probably wants people to use its own free online office suite.