Sun is Partnering in All the Right Places for Java

The recently announced multi-year partnership between Sun and Google feels quite warm and fuzzy. The announcement is of course rather vague, but as a statement of mutual happiness between two Internet giants, it doesn’t go far wrong. On the other hand, it doesn’t deliver much: just lots of mutual contentment and blowing of kisses, something about a toolbar, and assurances of good things to happen sometime in the future.

The eventual announcement, after all the build-up, hype, speculation and grand hopes of a webified OpenOffice (or something along those lines) was something of a letdown for many. But if we take the announcement in the context of itself, and not all the breathless excitement that led up to it, then it looks good – especially for Java.

In fact, if we look at the broader picture, this is the latest in a string of deals and partnerships announced by Sun to make Java more pervasive.

For example, Java is now a mandatory part of the Blu-Ray spec. Every Blu-Ray DVD player must ship with a JVM, as Java is a core part of the navigation system (Java will be used for the interactive menus). This bodes rather well for the future of Java, suggesting that it is reaching into all sorts of nooks and crannies of our everyday lives. That’s an important point: Java is reaching (indeed has reached) into the mainstream.

Meanwhile, not to put Microsoft down, but we’re not seeing nearly the same sorts of "big wins" as far as consumer devices go. They appear to have won the "palm OS" war, mainly by default after Palm Solutions accidentally bifurcated, then continued to lose their way and finally "caved in" and partnered with the enemy. But for Microsoft, getting their Windows Mobile OS onto phones is still showing itself to be an uphill struggle.

By contrast, any self-respecting Chav or Chavette wouldn’t be seen dead without Java on his or her moby. True, they may not actually use it or know why it’s there, but that’s beside the point. The point is that it’s there by default, because Sun is proving remarkably good at sealing the important deals and winning the support of the right people in the right industries.

About the Author

Matt Stephens is a senior architect, programmer and project leader based in Central London. He co-wrote Agile Development with ICONIX Process, Extreme Programming Refactored, and Use Case Driven Object Modeling with UML - Theory and Practice.

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