Microsoft and the Java thing

You'd think that Microsoft would learn to lay low after two DOJ investigations, but the company's latest high-profile gaff involves Java, the darling of the Internet world. JavaSoft, the makers of Java, would like all Java implementations to be certified, so that application developers will feel safe knowing their programs will run on all platforms. This interesting development seems to be a direct response to Microsoft's attempts to make Java yet another Windows development environment. Microsoft's initiatives would create a rift in the Java world and force developers to choose between the Windows version of Java--arguably the largest Java market--and all of the other implementations since they would be unable to run the Windows-ized Java applets and applications. The results of this break are unclear. Any Java programmer will tell you that the graphics interface part of Java is the weakest, since all of the user interface elements need to run on numerous, incompatible, platforms. The Microsoft initiative would grant Windows-based developers all of the UI richness that now exists in the Win32 API. Microsoft, to their credit, contends that developers will be able to choose between "pure" Java and "enhanced Win32" Java. We'll see. Unfortunately for JavaSoft, I suspect the Windows version will win out. The vast majority of Web surfers--a sort of target market for Java applets--are Windows-based. This would make JavaSoft--and their certification attempt--moot

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