Responding to the threat by Sun Microsystem's purchase of StarOffice, Microsoft president Steve Ballmer this week announced that the company will be creating a future version of its Microsoft Office productivity suite that will run over the Web. Though details are thin--one wonders whether the new version wasn't dreamt up in the two days since the Sun announcement--this future version of Office, or "Office 10," as its known internally, will also work locally on desktop machines like earlier versions of Office.

"We will have Web-based Office productivity services, no doubt about it," Ballmer said during a conference call with analysts. "Full stop, yes."

Not addressed, of course, is when this magical version of Office will appear and how much the software giant will charge for it. Sun is offering StarOffice over the Internet for free. Of course, StarOffice hasn't ever posed a serious challenge to Microsoft Office, which enjoys over 90% marketshare in the office productivity market