Java Strategy Update
May 19, 1997
Java continues to gain momentum faster than anyone expected. Java is a
significant threat to Microsoft’s dominant position in the industry.
Microsoft initial attempt to get control of Java has failed. However,
Java’s success is by no means assure& Microsoft recognizes the severity
of the threat and will use all available means to eliminate or control
it. The success of 100% Pure Java depends upon ISVs and : customers
selecting it as the platform on which they build their business
applications. This process is just :~ beginning, it is too soon to tell
if 100% Pure Java or Microsoft will emerge as the victor.
IBM has been one of the most visible supporters of Java in the industry.
We have contributed a significant amount of IBM technology to JavaSoft.
We have also played a pivotal role in keeping the Java coalition
together. We have Java-enabled our product line. Technically, we are
well-positioned to benefit from Java’s success. To reap the benefits, we
must quickly generate significant market momentum to drive sales of our
products and services.
This paper is an assessment of the status of lBM’s Java strategy. It
addresses the following questions:
* Is Java on target to become the industry standard platform for
building network centric business applications?
* What have we been doing to help drive the Java standard, and what
additional things do we need to do to increase the probability of its
* What do we need to do to position ourselves to profit from Java?
Is Java going to emerge as the platform for building network centric
By any measure, the adoption of Java is moving faster than any previous
platform. It has been just 2 years since the first pre-alpha version of
Java was distributed on the Web. Two years later, Java is changing the
* There are now 400,000 serious Java developers up from 200,000 six
months ago - it is estimated that
there will be 600,000 by the end of 1997. There are twice as many Java
programmers today than
there were C programmers ten years after C first shipped.
* Over 160 Universities are offering courses in Java.
* There are over 200 Java books in print - which surpasses the number of
books available on C++.
* Of the 1 billion smartcards manufactured eaeh year, 70% are
manufactured by Gem Plus and Schlumberger - both are planning on using
Java as the operating system for their smartcards.
* A recent survey showed that 80% of the companies surveyed are
considering using Java while only 43% are considering AcfiveX.
Java has won the first battle but the war is not over. Java will be one
of the principal languages used to build network centric applications.
Microsoft is trying to surround Java with proprietary Windows
interfaces, which will give developers the benefits of the Java language
but the applieations will only run on Windows. The Java coalition, which
includes Sun, IBM, Oracle and Netscape, is promoting 100% Pure Java,
which will run on all popular platforms. The winner will be determined
by which option customers and commercial application developers invest in.
In the remainder of this paper we will use Java to refer to 100% Pure
Java and ActiveX to refer to Microsoft’s Java implementation.
court documents in the case of Comes v. Microsoft.