Java’s Future Secured in Microsoft Pact

Despite rumors of its demise, Java is alive and well on the Windows desktop, according to Microsoft and Sun Microsystems .

Representatives with both companies confirmed Wednesday that the two companies have extended security patch support for Microsoft’s version of the Java Virtual Machine (MSJVM) until December 31, 2007. The decision builds on an October agreement for an extension until September 2004.

Microsoft has set up a support page outlining the details. Sun is offering the latest version of its JVM for all platforms (including Windows) on its site.

The announcement is one of the first between the former archrivals to develop since the CEOs of both companies got together on stage two-weeks ago to announce the settlement of their Java dispute. At the time of their landmark $1.9 billion deal, the two companies said Microsoft had the option to continue to provide product support for the Microsoft JVM that its customers
have in the wild, but no official timeline was set.

Microsoft is now advising its customers to move away from the MSJVM in a “timely fashion.”

“The MSJVM is no longer available for distribution from Microsoft and there will be no enhancements to the MSJVM. Microsoft products and SKUs currently including the MSJVM will continue to be retired or replaced by versions not containing the MSJVM on a schedule to be announced,” Microsoft said on its support Web site.

The 2007 deadline almost seems moot, as Microsoft’s new relationship with Sun is a 10-year deal that centers on how to best integrate each other’s technology. Microsoft spokesperson Jim Desler said the company is giving customers more time to adjust before making a final decision to go with .NET, Sun’s Java or other options such as Java from IBM, BEA or Borland.

“It’s part of the customer centric approach that both sides agreed upon,” Desler said. “The agreement for future technical collaboration is taking shape but still needs to be determined.”

“It’s a good story though that the Microsoft and Sun agreement led to such a positive thing — this extension is a very positive thing,” Sun spokesperson Laura Ramsey echoed to

The question of Java’s future with Microsoft was also addressed Tuesday by its creator, James Gosling. In an open letter to developers and other Sun Java enthusiasts, Gosling quelled fears that Java was going the way of the Dodo because of Sun’s apparent deal with the “Dark Side.”

“We’re not a bunch of moronic secret subversive Microsoft lapdogs. We’ve worked very hard over the years to fairly balance the needs of all the various communities. Relax. Have a little faith,” Gosling said in his blog.

“We fought hard to win those court cases. And we did win. Big time. Finally getting them cleared up gives us an extra pile of cash to invest in moving forward, it stops sucking the life out of all of us who dedicated enormous amounts of time to the cause, and it frees us from all sorts of procedural entanglements that were a part of the litigation process. This settlement is a Very Good Thing.”

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