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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.

Author Bio
Scott McNealy is the chief executive officer of Sun Microsystems. [email protected]

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