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Rivals Sun, Microsoft invest in same start-up

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Sun and Microsoft, well known as fierce rivals in the marketplace and the courtroom, separately announced that they have each made an equity investment of $25 million in the same start-up company.

The start-up, BroadBand Office, was set up in July of last year by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and other backers. The company is in the process of rolling out a range of communications and applications services to businesses in the U.S., including local and long-distance calling, dedicated Internet access and Web hosting.

BroadBand Office plans to use a range of Sun hardware and software on which to base some of its services, including its servers, storage products and Java programming language, Sun officials said in a statement issued today.

The start-up also intends to use Microsoft software for a platform on which BroadBand Office will deliver messaging, e-commerce and other services, Microsoft said in a separate statement put out today.

Sun Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy has long been one of Microsoft's most vociferous critics. The two companies currently are locked in a court battle in San Jose over what Sun contends is Microsoft's alleged illegal misuse of Java.

A Sun spokeswoman said the investments are not related, although each company was aware of the other's intention to invest in BroadBand Office. "They just happened to be announced on the same day."

BroadBand Office, in Falls Church, Va., can be contacted at +1-703-205-5630, and at Sun, in Mountain View, Calif., can be reached at +1-650-960-1300, or at Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash., can be reached at +1-425-882-8080, or at


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