When Google launched Google Pack in January 2006, Larry Page said that software companies don't have to pay Google to be included in the bundle. In addition to including most of its software, Google added an anti-virus and an anti-spyware software from Symantec, Firefox with Google Toolbar (Google and Mozilla have a search deal), Adobe Reader (Google and Adobe have a distribution deal), Skype (eBay and Google have an ad deal), RealPlayer (Google and RealNetworks have distribution deals), StarOffice (Sun and Google had a distribution agreement).
"Every program included in the Google Pack is free, has earned a reputation for excellence, and was evaluated to ensure it meets Google's Software Principles. Google respects users' rights to control their own computers and does not include software that is spyware, generates pop-ups, or that is difficult to uninstall," mentioned Google in a press release.
After removing Trillian and Ad-Aware, last week Google removed StarOffice from Google Pack and one of the possible explanations is that Sun signed an agreement with Microsoft to bundle MSN Toolbar with Java downloads. "With the vast array of Java software-based Web applications that are downloaded every month, this deal will expose Live Search to millions more Internet users and drive increased volume for our search advertisers," said Yusuf Mehdi from Microsoft.
A Google representative told eWeek: "We are constantly evaluating which products to include in Google Pack to make it more valuable to users. At this time the agreement to distribute StarOffice through Google Pack has expired, and we have decided with Sun not to renew the agreement."
If Google wants to offer a valuable software package for its users, maybe it's time to stop including software just because it's developed by partners. There are plenty of better alternatives to Norton Anti-Virus, RealPlayer, StarOffice and some of them are free or even open-source.