It's becoming more obvious to me every day that Java technology is the
platform of choice -- in more ways than one.
In the traditional sense of the phrase, it's the answer to the questions
all developers ask themselves: Which platform should I develop to? Which
has the biggest market, the most influence? Which provides me with a means
to demonstrate my skills and creativity? There's a second meaning as
well -- another question to answer: Which platform provides developers,
customers, and users with more choice?
In this new meaning, "platform of choice" indicates a platform that runs on
multiple operating systems, addresses a wide spectrum of hardware, and
can spawn multiple implementations so users are free to select the
one that works best (yours, of course).
By either definition, Java technology is still the platform of choice, and
this works to your benefit -- big time. The Java platform addresses
opportunities ranging from the biggest servers available to the desktop to
millions of new client devices -- smart cards, mobile phones, pagers,
PDAs, TV set-top boxes, and automotive systems. (Clearly the definition
of "client" is due for an update, too.)
Java technology is really hitting its stride now. In six months, more
than six million phones enabled with Java technology have been sold in
Japan, where the three largest wireless providers -- NTT DoCoMo, J-Phone,
and KDDI -- have deployed interactive wireless services. One analyst
estimates that between now and 2005, more than 700 million JVMs will be
deployed on these new devices.
In the server market, we're seeing unprecedented choice. There are 17
different applications servers available today that are compatible with
the Java platform. Some are the underpinning of IDEs, but even then IT
professionals can choose the implementation that best suits their needs.
And if the ISV they choose falls behind,they can replace one app server
with another at a dramatically lower cost.
More than 400 major corporations are working together through the Java
Community Process to innovate, enhance,and expand Java technology.
Offerings from Sun, IBM, HP, BEA, and Oracle,to name a few, are all built
around the platform of choice.
The lonely exception, of course, is Microsoft. Unless you've been totally
out of touch since mid-July, you're aware that Microsoft is not shipping a
JVM with Windows XP. The reason? Microsoft has used every excuse from "the
lawsuit settlement required us to do this" to my personal favorite, "We
don't want Windows to have too much code." The real reason, I suspect, is
that Microsoft is anti-choice.
But at the end of the day, you'll want to know whether this move will
lessen the market for your products and impact your livelihood. Rest
assured that we will provide XP support.
It will be the latest Java technology, not something old. We'll distribute
it via PC manufacturers, Web sites, ISVs -- whatever it takes to ensure
that your Java apps run anywhere.
So keep on writing to the platform of real choice, the one that's here today: the Java platform.
Scott McNealy is the chief executive officer of Sun Microsystems.