Netscape's Jim Barksdale gave his keynote address today at the Java Business Expo, and painted his picture of a Java future. In Barksdale's vision, today's children (the so-called "Generation Y") will use the Internet like water, and just expect it to be there all the time. The main theme of his address was that 100% Pure Java was the quickest route to this future and that Microsoft is a solution for a problem no one has.
"I've got an idea," Barksdale said. "Let's upgrade all of our desktop operating systems. Just for the hell of it. We've read in the paper that it's very fashionable--with no return on investment."
He later ridiculed Microsoft's upcoming Windows 98 release.
"What is the definable business reason to do this? To get a browser? I don't think so," he said. "There is no secret sauce that Microsoft can pull in that magically moves people over to their product."
Barksdale says that companies would be better served by Java and the Internet. An upcoming all-Java version of Navigator (joking called the "Javagator") is the most obvious embodiment of this goal. He also talked about Netscape's goal of distributing 100 million Navigator 4.0 CDs this year. When confronted by the fact that there are far fewer Web surfers than that, Barksdale said that people would have to get "2 or 3 copies then." I hope he's joking, but it did work for America Online. Of course, knowing Netscape, they'll make an announcement in December stating that 100 million people are using Navigator 4.0 when they've simply distributed that many CDs