Bill Gates details the success of Win32 and limitations of Java

The night Microsoft announced sweeping support for Java and several new Java tools, CEO Bill Gates told developers that Microsoft's Win32 and Internet software was "selling like gangbusters."

"We're focused on developers' success. That's how the PC industry has done well, and that's how Microsoft has done well," Gates told an crowd at the Moscone Convention Center that flowed into the aisles. "We want feedback from developers, not a religious feud."

Among the statistics Gates shared with the crowd:

  • Microsoft sells 5.5 million copies of Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 every month.
  • Shipments of Windows 95 are up 40% in 1997.
  • Shipments of Windows NT 4.0 are up 86% in 1997.
  • There are 165 million copies of Windows 95 in use today.
  • Microsoft sold 732,000 copies of Windows NT Server 4.0 in 1996.
  • Internet Explorer holds a 25-30% marketshare for Web browsers, compared to 0% a year earlier.
  • Internet Information Server (IIS) is the most popular Web server being distributed today (it is bundled with NT Server, not sold separately).
Gates also downplayed--somewhat accurately--Java as "just another programming language." He said that Microsoft plans to provide the same level of support for Java that it has provided for other languages, such as C++ and Visual Basic.

"Our goal is very simple: to deliver the fastest, most functional Java technology," said Gates.

Java's staunchest defenders try to cast the language as a suite of technologies that will eventually overtake Windows, but Gates sees it as simply another way to get work done. Primarily in Windows, at that.

"Ever since I've been programming, there's been this search for the perfect programming language," Gates said. "Was it LISP, was it Smalltalk?

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