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A challenge to Microsoft? Not this deal

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McNealy was once known for his caustic attacks on Microsoft. But last year, Sun reached a partnership with the longtime rival, to make its products work better with computers using Microsoft's Windows operating system. Yesterday McNealy was careful not to depict the Sun-Google deal as a challenge to Microsoft. Asked whether he and Schmidt were picking a fight with Microsoft, McNealy replied: ''We're going after revenue, profits, customers, ease of use."

The deal came as a disappointment to John Rymer, industry analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge.

''It was less than we all hoped for," Rymer said. He doubted that the Google Toolbar deal alone would bring much new revenue to Sun or many more users to Google. Indeed, Rymer thinks that Google and Sun had hoped to detail more substantial initiatives, but couldn't put the deals together quickly enough.

''What I think is they failed to come to an agreement on some of the other things they were working on," said Rymer. ''That's why it was so quixotic today."

On the other hand, the deal confirms that Sun and Google have joined forces. Rymer said that's especially valuable for Sun, which has never fully regained the prominence it had during the Internet boom of the 1990s.

''Just by virtue of the fact that Sun's name was associated with Google," he said, ''their stock went up 6 1/2 percent" on Monday.

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