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Apple -- Like Microsoft -- Compromises the Future of Java

Coffee beans



Summary: Apple is discontinuing Java in Mac OS X despite the inter-personal connection with Oracle

Oracle and Apple are unlikely to ever sue each other over patents because of the relationship between Jobs and Ellison [1, 2, 3]. It is hard to figure out why Apple seemingly phases out Java then, as claimed on a speculative basis in several places like this one: [via]



Scant months since beginning a public spat with Adobe over its decision not to support Flash on iOS devices, Apple now also appears ready to abandon Java in Mac OS X.


If true, what might Apple be trying to achieve? It's not about patents, is it? To Apple, removal of Adobe Trash (at least temporarily, until antitrust scrutiny) was arguably a matter of control.

As people may already know, Apple benefits from Oracle's lawsuit against Android/Google, which is a lawsuit over Java patents. The Economist has this new article titled "The great patent battle" and it's about the many patent battles in the mobile arena:

Hardly a week passes without a new case. Motorola sued Apple this month, having itself been sued by Microsoft a few days earlier. Since 2006 the number of mobile-phone-related patent complaints has increased by 20% annually, according to Lex Machina, a firm that keeps a database of intellectual-property spats in America.

Most suits were filed by patent owners who hail from another industry, such as Kodak (a firm from a bygone era that now makes printers), or by patent trolls (firms that buy patents not in order to make products, but to sue others for allegedly infringing them). But in recent months the makers of handsets and related software themselves have become much more litigious, reports Joshua Walker, the boss of Lex Machina.


Could patents have anything at all with Apple's treatment of Java (assuming those rumours bear substance)? That seems unlikely. Either way, Microsoft too has been attacking Java with FUD recently.

Postscript: at the time of publishing it turns out the speculations are true as Apple "threatens Java" by deprecating its release and Steve Jobs talks about it.

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