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Microsoft and Sun partners to promote MSN toolbar

Looking to boost its shrinking share of the online search market, Microsoft said that beginning Monday its MSN toolbar would be bundled with Sun Microsystems’ ubiquitous Java software in the U.S. For Microsoft, the deal is a symbolic coup because it partly replaces a high-profile agreement Sun struck with Google in 2005 to bundle the Google toolbar with Java.

US resident who downloads Sun’s Java Runtime Environment with Internet Explorer will be offered MSN Toolbar. This Microsoft Silverlight powered toolbar delivers one click access to Live Search, news, entertainment, sports and more. Users who choose to download the toolbar will also be asked whether they want to switch their default search engine to Live Search.

Goldberg declined to say how much traffic Microsoft expected to generate from the arrangement with Sun. But he said that across the market, about 35 percent of search queries come from entry points such as a toolbar, the address bar or a search bar within a browser.

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