Sun’s Java Won’t Be In Microsoft’s .NET - Complicate Your Integration? You .BET

  • Written By: M. Reed
  • Published: February 19 2001

Sun’s Java Won't Be In Microsoft's .NET
Complicate Your Integration? You .BET

M. Reed - February 20, 2001

Event Summary

Just when you thought there was a single standard for something, Sun Microsystems Inc. and Microsoft Corporation recently announced a settlement in Sun's lawsuit regarding Microsoft's use of Java technology. Microsoft was given the choice of conforming to the published Java standard or opting out of the technology, they chose to opt out. Under terms of the agreement, Microsoft can continue to use the outdated version of Java which it had licensed for the next seven years, but cannot use Java in their .NET initiative.

Once again, we are left with two competing standards in the interoperability world, Sun's Java as a platform and a language, Microsoft's .NET initiative as the platform, using the new C# (pronounced C-Sharp) language for development. Customers are now forced to choose between the Java platform and the Windows platform. There is no "best of both worlds". To underscore the divergence, Microsoft has announced a program it calls "JUMP to .NET" (Java User Migration Path to Microsoft .NET).

According to Sun Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy, "It's pretty simple: This is a victory for our licensees and consumers. The community wants one Java technology: one brand, one process, and one great platform. We've accomplished that, and this agreement further protects the authenticity and value of Sun's Java technology."

Microsoft has a different attitude. Sanjay Parthasarathy, Vice President of the Platform Strategy Group at Microsoft states "The Microsoft .NET platform is the best way to build, deliver and aggregate Web Services, and Microsoft is committed to help software developers build Web Services with whatever programming language is most appropriate for their particular needs."

Market Impact

As usual, both vendors claim victory (Microsoft has even stated that "the company has no interest in using Java for .NET", while Sun believes the decision "protects the integrity of the Java platform"). The problem for the market arises when trying to pick which path is best for potential customers. On the one hand, a number of vendors have tied their new product releases to the .NET initiative where many of the services they require are provided natively by the Microsoft platform. In the Java world, leading vendors in the application server space, including BEA Systems and iPlanet, are certified for the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) environment, with IBM not far behind (more than 6000 tests must be passed for certification).

Other factors for vendors in this market to consider:

  • There are thousands of qualified Java programmers, and virtually none who are currently conversant in Microsoft's C# (the language is still under development).

  • J2EE is completely platform independent but .NET runs only on Windows.

  • Any customer applications written to conform to J2EE will work with any J2EE-compatible application server. If a company finds a different application server they like better than their current implementation, they can just switch. A large number of vendors are moving in this direction (go to the TEC EAI and Data Warehousing Research for many previous TEC articles on this subject).

User Recommendations

Before customers make any attempt at choosing products or suites of products for enterprise application integration, middleware, Web application stacks or other software solutions that require seamless interoperability, they must be sure they understand the difference in the approaches used by Java and .NET.

Question vendors closely on which approach they have (or will be) taking in their current and future releases, and why. Once the choice is made, it will be difficult if not impossible to switch. Since application integration efforts are costly, complex and time-consuming, the decision may come back to haunt you if you don't choose wisely.

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