Java, Java everywhere

Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president of software at Sun Microsystems, wears the satisfied smile of a politician who's so sure he'll be elected that he's already bought a house in the electorate. In his view, the tally is a formality. Schwartz seemed ready to repaint the JavaOne banner outside a recent exhibition to read "Java Won".

What did Java win? For one thing, it won Sun, which is now perfectly content to be known as The Java Company. Java phones, Java desktops, Java servers, Java chips, Java tools. Java, Java, Java. Everyone (including me) who has been screaming at Sun to turn Java into a Sun brand should feel vindicated. Or maybe we should let Schwartz rap our knuckles with a ruler for imagining Sun didn't plan this all along.

Java won Sun a seat at the table with some impressive company: Motorola, Intel, Siemens, Nokia, Oracle and SAP among them.

Hewlett-Packard and Dell inked a deal to install Sun brand Java on all their Windows PCs.

Java won a big one by default. A year ago, .Net had acquired so much momentum it looked like Microsoft could put Sun's lights out at will. Then Microsoft did something I still can't fathom. It nuked the .Net brand, which vanished from Smartphones, PDAs, set-top boxes, clients and servers. Without .Net, what can Microsoft use to present its software as a unified, integrated offering? Maybe the time-tested brands Windows and Office will do. Whatever the logic, Microsoft is assuming that Sun is done, so it has all the time in the world to bake a new strategy. It doesn't. Sun doesn't have to backtrack and reposition; its message has been fairly consistent, even though its execution wavers.

At the end of our discussion, I asked Schwartz for his thoughts about a couple of news items. In the SCO suit against IBM, Schwartz's concern is for IBM's vulnerable customer base. He believes IBM had a duty to indemnify customers from legal action taken against the company. And on the matter of The Open Group's lawsuit against Apple regarding the Unix trademark, Schwartz delivered my favourite quote of the discussion: "Apple did us a huge favour by choosing Unix for its machines. Someone should tell The Open Group to shut up."

Open Group, please shut up.

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