Sun quietly drops plans to supplant Windows with Java

It's a programming language. It's an operating system. It's a desert topping. OK, it's not an operating system. At least not one that's going to challenge Windows anytime soon. Sun Microsystems had lofty plans for Java as recently as a few months ago, but times change and Sun is quickly coming to the realization that Java is never going be a mass-market PC operating system. So the company has quietly scaled back its Java mission and is now targeting it as a platform for non-PC devices and, of course, as an Internet programming language.

The most recent concessions from the Java camp came this week at the annual meeting of the Software Publishers Association (SPA) where Sun's Solaris president John McFarlane described his company's new goals for the language.

"Windows is not the answer," McFarlane said at the conference Monday, in which he apparently means that personal computers are not, in fact, the answer. "Consumers devices \[based on Java\] are not computers."

McFarlane discussed possible in-roads for Java, such as cellular phones, TV set-top boxes, automobiles, smart cards, and Network Computers (NCs).

"There are huge opportunities for new software applications in the consumer space, and you have a huge opportunity to create wealth," McFarlane said. "As the Internet goes past 100 million users, that's clearly an expansion of your business."

McFarlane, who calls Sun a "platform company," says that Windows developers have to compete with Microsoft's applications, because Microsoft is an OS and application developer. He pledged that Sun would never compete with its developers like that

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