SAN FRANCISCO (06/07/2000) - The essence of the Java programming language has always been its cross-platform capabilities, while the monolithic Windows operating system has laid at the heart of Microsoft Corp.'s success, Java evangelists have long maintained.
So, it comes as no surprise that most developers at Sun Microsystems Inc.'s JavaOne conference here today endorsed the ruling by U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson that would break up Microsoft into two separate companies.
One developer said the ruling untying Microsoft's Windows OS from its applications business will give developers more freedom to create programs and platforms. "It was only with Java that you could develop applications independent of the (Windows) operating system," said Hugo Borda, a Java developer and director of electronic commerce for Claritas Inc., based in San Diego, California.
Likewise, before the antitrust lawsuit was brought against Microsoft, the company was poised to tie in its Windows operating system with wireless and Internet applications to control that market as well, said another developer.
"Microsoft dominated the desktop and office applications. To run MS Word, you needed the Windows OS," said Pekka Nikander, a Java developer and a professor at Helsinki University of Technology. "Now, they are trying to push their dominance to the wireless domain and to Web applications. And with their size and power, they are in a position to do it."
Even though he hailed today's ruling, one developer questioned whether it could alter Microsoft's behavior.
"If Microsoft stays true to itself, it's doubtful the behavioral remedies will work," said a developer with a security software vendor who asked not to be identified. "It's a fact of life that they are hard charging. Microsoft is a spawn of Satan."
But another developer agreed with Microsoft's oft-stated argument that its market strength has resulted in benefits to consumers.
"I'm not a big fan of Microsoft and Bill Gates, but one nice thing they did was standardize things and bring together a PC community," said Victoria Gonzalez, a software engineer with Akamai Technologies Inc. "Windows might not have been the best OS, but I have my mom e-mailing me now (because its standardization)."
Sun, in Palo Alto, California, can be reached at +1-650-960-1300 or at http://www.sun.com/.