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More Vendors Line up for Sun Java

In a move that underlines industry demand for the latest Java technologies and reinforces developer commitment to the Java platform overall, Sun Microsystems Tuesday announced new distribution agreements with a variety of PC vendors. Beginning Oct. 1, Sun will sell the technology to vendors such as Acer, Gateway , Samsung, Toshiba, and Tsinghua Tongfang.

While Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun continues to wrestle with Microsoft over bundling Java into future editions of the Windows operating system, the new Java distributors join a rapidly expanding roster of PC vendors that are shipping the most compatible version of Java. This list received a huge boost earlier this summer when Dell and HP signed aboard. The list also Apple , Lindows.com, and Red Hat .

"Leading PC vendors are listening to their customers who want easy access to high-performing, industry-standard Java technology," said Richard Green, vice president of Sun's Software Developer Platforms Group. "These agreements encompass some of the best-known brands in PC computing and point to the tremendous value of the Java platform as a must-have for the modern computing desktop."

Notably absent from the list of distributors is IBM , which has yet to decide whether to embrace the Java engine. Still, as Green explained, the total PC vendor agreements to date comprise more than 50 percent of the PC desktop marketplace.

Together, these distributors ensure that Sun's Java Runtime Environment will be pre-installed on systems sold by these firms. Vendors that sign up to distribute the Java engine have promised that consumers, content developers and web sites can be certain that the latest version of the Java platform will be available worldwide starting next month. Consumers who purchase personal computers that do not yet offer the latest version of Java software, they can download for free at Java.com.

Experts say that widespread distribution of Java should enable consumers to experience increased functionality, and a more manageable, secure platform across the board. According to Dana Gardner, senior analyst with the Framingham, Mass.-based research firm Yankee Group, these changes also could translate into big-time cost savings for developers and corporate customers alike.

"Developers and ISVs can remain confident that their Java application efforts will run seamlessly on the majority of PCs, with an up-to-date Java Runtime Environment," Gardner said. "The functional strengths, security benefits and administrative efficiencies of end-to-end Java appear an unstoppable, long-term value proposition worldwide."