But Yankee Group Analyst Neal Goldman said Microsoft’s decision to
discontinue support for Java likely has more to do with the settlement the company reached with Sun earlier this year than with an
attempt to further hurt Sun.
Microsoft agreed in January to pay Sun 0 million to settle a lawsuit
initiated in 1997. The lawsuit stemmed from an agreement the two companies
made in 1996, when Microsoft obtained a license from Sun to use the Java
technology, with the stipulation that Microsoft would deliver only
compatible implementations of the technology. Following the agreement,
Microsoft used the Java Development Kit (JDK) 1.1.4, a version that had long
been superceded, thus ensuring Windows-only compatibility.
As part of the settlement, Sun gave Microsoft the right to continue using
the outdated JDK for seven years, though Microsoft made no commitment to do
“It comes down to the settlement agreement,” Goldman said. “On the one hand,
you could say, ‘gee, Microsoft is attempting to keep people from using Java
on Windows and this is sort of an exclusionary tactic.’ I think that’s
probably not true. Because of the settlement agreement with Sun, they can’t
ship current or new versions of Java. If my choices were to ship nothing or
an old version, I would ship nothing.”
Goldman also noted that the decision to block Java on high security settings
shouldn’t affect the Java development community to any great degree because
most companies now shy away from client-side Java. Client-side Java
applications, which run on a user’s machine and are the type Windows XP’s
high security setting would block, must be downloaded by the user. Often
those downloads are quite large.
“The vast majority of real, pure Java programming is occurring on the
server,” Goldman said. Server-side Java would not be blocked by Windows XP’s
HTML or VBScript,” Goldman continued. “Making [Windows XP] more secure on
client-side Java I don’t think really impacts Java development on the
Neither Microsoft nor Sun were available for comment as of this writing.
More to come…