SUN'S JAVA: THE THREAT TO MICROSOFT IS REAL

SUN'S JAVA: THE THREAT TO MICROSOFT IS REAL

Post by s.. » Sat, 16 Nov 1996 04:00:00



   FORTUNE MAGAZINE FEATURE ARTICLE

                             November 11, 1996,

SUN'S JAVA: THE THREAT TO MICROSOFT IS REAL

  Sun Microsystems once hyped its new software language as a way to make Web
  pages extra-cute. Almost by accident it unleashed the next great wave in
  computing.

   BRENT SCHLENDER
   REPORTER ASSOCIATE ERYN BROWN

   Plus:
   Flowers From Java

   If he doesn't already, Bill Gates may come to regret Pearl Harbor Day
   1995. That was the day he outlined Microsoft's grandiose plan to make
   war with Netscape Communications and morph itself into the overlord of
   the Internet. It was also the day the mighty billionaire blinked. As
   part of his presentation to financial analysts and the press in
   Seattle, he announced that Microsoft would climb on the bandwagon for
   Java, a hot new Internet programming language promoted by his
   nettlesome archrival Sun Microsystems. Gates had no choice, really,
   but to go along with Sun. In so doing, however, he exposed Microsoft
   to a threat more dangerous than any Netscape could present.

   Java is one of the hyped-up Internet software technologies that have
   spawned the World Wide Web, awful words like "intranet," and those
   strange-looking addresses on business cards and TV commercials.
   Originally known as a way to jazz up Web pages with graphic
   animations--stock tickers that crawl across your screen, for example,
   and dancing icons--Java has quickly evolved into a whole lot more. To
   Microsoft's dismay, it is fast becoming what is known as a computing
   platform--a sturdy base upon which programmers can build software
   applications.

   Chart: In the Sack with Java

   Java is making possible the rapid development of versatile programs
   for communicating and collaborating on the Internet. We're not just
   talking word processors and spreadsheets here, but also applications
   to handle sales, customer service, accounting, databases, and human
   resources--the meat and potatoes of corporate computing. Java is also
   making possible a controversial new class of cheap machines called
   network computers, or NCs, which Sun, IBM, Oracle, Apple, and others
   hope will proliferate in corporations and our homes.

   The way Java works is simple. Unlike ordinary software applications,
   which take up megabytes on the hard disk of your PC, Java
   applications, or "applets," are little programs that reside on the
   network in centralized servers. The network delivers them to your
   machine only when you need them; because the applets are so much
   smaller than conventional programs, they don't take forever to
   download.

   Say you want to check out the sales results from the Southwest region.
   You'll use your Internet browser to find the corporate intranet
   website that dishes up financial data and, with a mouse click or two,
   ask for the numbers. The server will zap you not only the data, but
   also the sales-analysis applet you need to display it. The numbers
   will pop up on your screen in a Java spreadsheet, so you can noodle
   around with them immediately rather than hassle with importing them to
   your own spreadsheet program.

   To graph the numbers, you'll call in a charting applet that will let
   you print out your report nice and pretty, all without leaving your
   browser. And you'll always get the latest, greatest version of the
   applets too: Since the software is stored in only one place, corporate
   techies can keep it up to date more easily.

   The real beauty of the Java language, however, is its power to save
   users money. Corporate chief information officers, a.k.a. CIOs, think
   Java may be software's holy grail both because it vastly simplifies
   creating and deploying applications and because it lets them keep
   their existing "legacy" computers and software. Java programs, once
   written, can run without modification on just about any kind of
   computer: a PC, a Macintosh, a Unix workstation--heck, even a
   mainframe. The underlying operating system makes no difference. Java
   actually can breathe new life into older specialized computers that
   were at risk of becoming obsolete.

   In scarcely a year, Java has evolved into a major challenger to
   Microsoft's Windows family of PC operating systems--faster even than
   DOS and Windows rose to challenge traditional mainframes and
   minicomputers. Java is also well on its way to becoming the most
   important Internet software standard, catapulting Sun past Netscape
   and Microsoft as the leader in Internet computing.

   While Sun is essentially donating the Java language to the computer
   world by publishing all the specs and letting anybody use them, the
   technology will spur lucrative growth for the company. It should fuel
   already blazing sales of Sun's Internet servers (which can cost up to
   $25,000) and jump-start its new line of sub-$1,000 JavaStation network
   computers. Java will also rev up demand for Sun's software development
   tools and for special Sun chips that other computer makers can use to
   make their machines run Java faster. The halo effect from Java is a
   big reason Sun's stock has become hot (see chart).

   In short, Java is outstripping its own breathless hype--and causing
   headaches for Microsoft by soaking up industry resources. Already tens
   of thousands of programmers are writing Java code, as hundreds of
   commercial software makers and corporate information-systems
   departments put their best people on Java development. Sun, IBM, and
   Compaq Computer, among others, have ponied up a $100 million
   venture-capital pool called the Java Fund to help seed startups. And
   although it is politically incorrect for them to say so, even
   engineers in the bowels of Microsoft seem jazzed about Java.

   For Sun CEO Scott McNealy, it's a pipe dream come true. "We always
   thought we were onto something with Java--that it was our one big
   chance to challenge Microsoft and to change the economics of the
   business," he says. "But I have to admit I never thought Java
   computing could unfold quite this quickly, or with such universal
   support from customers and competitors. It's astounding, really."

   Most of us don't know (and don't want to know) the first thing about
   computer languages. Yet they are the catalysts of change in computer
   technology. Mainframe computers weren't of much use in the workaday
   world until Cobol came along and made it easy to write accounting and
   inventory programs. IBM's Fortran language made it possible to program
   engineering workstations and supercomputers for scientific analysis.
   It was Basic--a version of which was Microsoft's very first
   product--that let hobbyist hackers program early personal computers.
   Another language known as C++ streamlined development of
   point-and-click graphical programs like the ones we use on Windows PCs
   and Macs.

   Java looks like the language best suited to Internet computing not
   just because it doesn't favor or discriminate against specific
   machines but because it is inherently virus-proof--the language was
   designed so applets can't alter data in your computer's files or on
   its hard disk. (McNealy puckishly calls using Java programs the
   equivalent of "practicing safe computing.")

   Java is also one of those charmed technologies--Microsoft's original
   DOS operating system is another--that arrived at exactly the right
   place at the right time. Since Sun introduced Java in May 1995, a
   constellation of forces--other Internet innovations, software
   economics, industry politics, and customer need--aligned almost
   simultaneously to let Java emerge.

   Adam Smith would be proud, because it is the marketplace more than
   anything that is driving Java computing. Over the past decade,
   companies have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on information
   technology (IT) systems and software, much of it to equip virtually
   every desk in white-collar America with a PC and then to link the
   machines into networks.

   But even as PCs get cheaper and more powerful, they grow ever more
   expensive and difficult to maintain. An oft-cited Gartner Group report
   estimates that companies must spend more than $6,000 a year on
   hardware and software upkeep for a $2,000 PC that runs Windows 95.
   CIOs are finding this mind-boggling sum harder and harder to justify,
   much less afford. So they are willing to try just about anything to
   push down those costs.

   At the same time, the industry's two near monopolies--Microsoft with
   its Windows system software and Intel with its microprocessors--are
   leaching more and more of the profit from the PC business. Resentment
   has grown as profit margins have shrunk at companies like IBM, Apple,
   Lotus, and Borland. All would like nothing better than to take
   Microsoft down a peg. Customers, too, are increasingly uneasy as the
   Wintel duopoly threatens competition and product choice. At a recent
   FORTUNE-sponsored Internet conference in Chicago, several IT
   professionals said they were rooting for Java computing if only to
   keep Microsoft from being able to dictate corporate computing
   technologies and strategies.

   For IBM and Apple, Java may prove nothing less than a godsend. Big
   Blue sells five different types of computers and operating
   systems--mainframes, minicomputers, workstations, and two flavors of
   PC--none of which is compatible with the others, much to customers'
   frustration. Now the company is hard at work building high-performance
   versions of Java into each of its operating systems so that for the
   first time in its history, IBM's entire computer line will be able to
   share software. (Ironically, Microsoft, which itself has fostered
   several
...

read more »

 
 
 

SUN'S JAVA: THE THREAT TO MICROSOFT IS REAL

Post by Garance A Droseh » Sun, 17 Nov 1996 04:00:00



>    FORTUNE MAGAZINE FEATURE ARTICLE
>                              November 11, 1996,

> SUN'S JAVA: THE THREAT TO MICROSOFT IS REAL

>   Sun Microsystems once hyped its new software language as a way
>   to make Web pages extra-cute. Almost by accident it unleashed
>   the next great wave in computing.

>    BRENT SCHLENDER
>    REPORTER ASSOCIATE ERYN BROWN

     [article makes lots of breathless claims about how Java is
     the greatest thing ever, and that Microsoft is about to die
     due to it, and then says:]

Quote:>    Microsoft will likely be the key purveyor of Java Virtual
>    Machine software because of its 90% share of desktop operating
>    systems.  (JavaSoft president Alan Baratz crows that the
>    snappiest of all the Java Virtual Machines may well be
>    Microsoft's, to be bundled with Windows early next year.) But
>    Microsoft still derides Java as merely a "mildly interesting
>    programming language" and is doing all it can to torpedo Java
>    with its own Internet software component technology, ActiveX.
>    Microsoft claims ActiveX uses PC hardware and software better
>    than Java does. But the people at Sun and IBM, among other
>    critics, note that only Windows PCs can take full advantage
>    of ActiveX. That's why they mockingly call Microsoft's
>    technology CaptiveX.

I think it's a bit soon to mock Microsoft on this.  Microsoft *does*
have 90% of the desktops, and many developers *will* be happy to
use Microsoft's extensions even if those extensions only run on
Win32 platforms.  And if microsoft makes some of those extensions
also available on Macs, it will be in quite a good position to
simply steal all of the thunder of Java.

I like Java as a programming language, but I would not be so quick
to assume that Microsoft is stupid.  It wasn't all that long ago
that people were crowing that Netscape had dethroned Microsoft
thanks to the idea of web browsers, but MSIE is making major
inroads there.  Microsoft can do the same with Java.

Apple had the lead in GUI's, and Microsoft has pretty much taken
over that field too.  So much so that some people actually think
Microsoft invented the idea.

Microsoft may not have the imagination to create any new innovations
on it's own, but when it comes to cashing in on a technology there's
nobody smarter than MS.  I wouldn't write an obituary for Microsoft
just yet.

---

Senior Systems Programmer        (MIME & NeXTmail capable)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute;           Troy NY    USA

 
 
 

SUN'S JAVA: THE THREAT TO MICROSOFT IS REAL

Post by Gerry Grysch » Tue, 19 Nov 1996 04:00:00



: I think it's a bit soon to mock Microsoft on this.  Microsoft *does*
: have 90% of the desktops, and many developers *will* be happy to
: use Microsoft's extensions even if those extensions only run on
: Win32 platforms.  And if microsoft makes some of those extensions
: also available on Macs, it will be in quite a good position to
: simply steal all of the thunder of Java.

I highly doubt that anyone is going to say bye,bye to Microsoft. They have
too much money and influence to just die. What they are saying though is that
of the items I just listed, their influence on the computer industry is or
will be gone.

Note also that it doesn't matter that much that Microsoft holds sway over
90% of the desktops, one of the whole points about Java is the NC as well.
Therefore, the 90% that Microsoft currently "controls" may in fact be
detrimental since people view the PC machines as being extremely expensive
to maintain. They'll view it as absolutely necessary that Microsoft provide
a JVM for these machines but once it is there the PC gets replaced sooner
or later by a cheaper machine both in hardware and support.

Java could be the thing to level the playing field once and for all but
I'm not that prescient to be confident of that myself.
--
Gerry Gryschuk       "If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science;

Go Habs!!!            "Never underestimate the power of human stupidity"
                         - Lazarus Long(R.A.Heinlein)  

 
 
 

SUN'S JAVA: THE THREAT TO MICROSOFT IS REAL

Post by al.. » Tue, 19 Nov 1996 04:00:00



<reasonable opinions munched...>
Yeah, but, as those of us from "the group formerly known as the NeXT
community" are brutally aware, it's not about Technology, it's about
Marketing. We should be grateful that Java is getting the good press, and
doubly grateful that Java could very well evolve into something as cool as
NeXTSTEP was (even better, in some ways).  

 
 
 

SUN'S JAVA: THE THREAT TO MICROSOFT IS REAL

Post by Garance A Droseh » Tue, 19 Nov 1996 04:00:00




> Yeah, but, as those of us from "the group formerly known as the
> NeXT community" are brutally aware, it's not about Technology,
> it's about Marketing. We should be grateful that Java is getting
> the good press, and doubly grateful that Java could very well
> evolve into something as cool as NeXTSTEP was (even better, in
> some ways).

Yes, this is true.  It is encouraging to see some good press
for java, even if some of the comments are a bit overstated.

---

Senior Systems Programmer        (MIME & NeXTmail capable)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute;           Troy NY    USA

 
 
 

SUN'S JAVA: THE THREAT TO MICROSOFT IS REAL

Post by jim fro » Tue, 19 Nov 1996 04:00:00





><reasonable opinions munched...>
>Yeah, but, as those of us from "the group formerly known as the NeXT
>community" are brutally aware, it's not about Technology, it's about
>Marketing. We should be grateful that Java is getting the good press, and
>doubly grateful that Java could very well evolve into something as cool as
>NeXTSTEP was (even better, in some ways).  

Well, one thing about Java as a technology is that it helps fix a
number of serious problems with C and C++ -- not so much from a
portability aspect (which, IMHO, is way overhyped given the state of
Java "portability" today) but from a reliability and scalability
aspect.

When it comes right down to it I use Java because it makes me more
than three times as productive as C++ with a much lower defect rate.
What that translates to in real-world terms is better products getting
to market faster, and that's something you can take to the bank.

But this is neither here nor there in terms of Java's market
acceptance; most people haven't yet discovered these things.

NeXTStep's failure was in timing more than marketing.  It was too late
to capture the workstation market (too little performance too long
after everyone else) and it missed the PC market both by needing
expensive hardware and by being too hard to port to existing PC OS's.

In contrast Java hit several things just right: it supported an OS
that was just starting to take off (Win95) so it had an instant
multimillion machine market and it got associated with a technology
that was being hyped all over the place (the Web) so lots of people
wanted it.  The fact that it provides a number of technological
benefits is icing on the cake.

jim frost

--
http://world.std.com/~jimf

 
 
 

SUN'S JAVA: THE THREAT TO MICROSOFT IS REAL

Post by Richard Plinst » Tue, 19 Nov 1996 04:00:00



Quote:

> I think it's a bit soon to mock Microsoft on this.  Microsoft *does*
> have 90% of the desktops, and many developers *will* be happy to

It *may* have as much as 90% of the IBM-PC and clone desktops,
probably less though by subtracting all the *nix, pick, OS/2
linux, PC-DOS, NW-DOS, Desqview.  I use DataPac's System Manager.

Then when you subtract the non-PC desktops: Apple, Workstations,
mainframe terminals, dumb terminals (yes really, Wyse is still
selling thousands of them), etc; you probably find that MS has
around 70% of all desktops.

Quote:> use Microsoft's extensions even if those extensions only run on
> Win32 platforms.  And if microsoft makes some of those extensions

And then if you restrict it to Win32 you will halve that figure,
Win3.x is still prevelant, DOS is still used.

Quote:> also available on Macs, it will be in quite a good position to
> simply steal all of the thunder of Java.

> I like Java as a programming language, but I would not be so quick
> to assume that Microsoft is stupid.  It wasn't all that long ago
> that people were crowing that Netscape had dethroned Microsoft
> thanks to the idea of web browsers, but MSIE is making major
> inroads there.  Microsoft can do the same with Java.

But MS is losing mindshare.  It is becoming obvious that MS is in
panic mode trying to catch up: NetPC ? hah.  If a Windows/PC is the
problem then how can a Windows/PC be the solution ?; Java ? MS
said it wouldn't, now it will.

Quote:

> Apple had the lead in GUI's, and Microsoft has pretty much taken
> over that field too.  So much so that some people actually think
> Microsoft invented the idea.

Some seem to think that MS invented everything after the light bulb.

Quote:

> Microsoft may not have the imagination to create any new innovations
> on it's own, but when it comes to cashing in on a technology there's
> nobody smarter than MS.  I wouldn't write an obituary for Microsoft
> just yet.

No. Certainly not.  That is not the aim.  It is about choice.  With
MS being dominent the choice is MS and fat client PCs.  That option
will never go away.

One problem is that PCs have grown up and are now mainframes.  In the
70s and early 80s the mainframes had become too expensive to
support and the software too complex.  The PC looked like a way out.

Now PCs are like mainframes.  Too expensive to support on everyone's
desk.  The NC is like a way out.

It is not that a PC is too expensive individually, but when a
company has several thousand of them this may exceed their
mainframe costs.  It may well be cheaper to go the way that happened
in the 70s: departmental mini (application server) and dumb terminals
(NCs).

Actually that is what I have used System manager (and its predecessors)
to do for the last decade or more.

 
 
 

SUN'S JAVA: THE THREAT TO MICROSOFT IS REAL

Post by John Bay » Tue, 19 Nov 1996 04:00:00





>>    FORTUNE MAGAZINE FEATURE ARTICLE
>>                              November 11, 1996,
[...]
>>    critics, note that only Windows PCs can take full advantage
>>    of ActiveX. That's why they mockingly call Microsoft's
>>    technology CaptiveX.

>I think it's a bit soon to mock Microsoft on this.  Microsoft *does*
>have 90% of the desktops, and many developers *will* be happy to
>use Microsoft's extensions even if those extensions only run on
>Win32 platforms.

    Microsoft doesn't 'have' 90% of desktops, they have 90% of *new*
desktop systems. The vast majority of Windows users only use windows
because they never realised there are alternatives - they're computer
naive, and Windows just happens to be what came with their systems.
    The point being that most of them haven't upgraded from 3.1 and
probably won't for a long time (if ever), which explains the rather
dismal sales performance of Windows 95 compared to expectations which
depended heavily on people upgrading.
    The (real) point is, much of Microsoft's 'control' is an illusion
caused by market momentum.

Quote:>Apple had the lead in GUI's, and Microsoft has pretty much taken
>over that field too.  So much so that some people actually think
>Microsoft invented the idea.

    Again, that's the momentum thing happening. I certainly wouldn't
say Microsoft has taken the lead in GUIs, as Windows 95 still sucks (I
only say that from the perspective of someone who only occasionally
uses Macintosh, OS/2, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, but not enough to become
familiar with the idiosyncracies of each, so I have to depend on the
easy-to-use-ness of each. As a result, I find that the Macintosh sucks
the far least. Just my opinion, not important ot the thread).

--
John Bayko (Tau).

http://www.cs.uregina.ca/~bayko

 
 
 

SUN'S JAVA: THE THREAT TO MICROSOFT IS REAL

Post by Jonathan W. Hendr » Tue, 19 Nov 1996 04:00:00



> NeXTStep's failure was in timing more than marketing.  It was too late
> to capture the workstation market (too little performance too long
> after everyone else) and it missed the PC market both by needing
> expensive hardware and by being too hard to port to existing PC OS's.

I find it quite amusing that Compaq and others are starting
to market 'Professional Workstation' machines, just like
NeXT did.

Only these are much much faster and run software that lots
of people use already. Single or dual Pentium Pro 200's,
running NT. Not bad...

--
Jonathan W. Hendry    President, Steel Driving Software, Inc.  
OpenStep, Delphi, and Java Consulting in Cincinnati                
http://www.steeldriving.com                                                
DNRC Lord High Minister Of Binder Buffing

 
 
 

SUN'S JAVA: THE THREAT TO MICROSOFT IS REAL

Post by j.. » Wed, 20 Nov 1996 04:00:00


Quote:

> I like Java as a programming language, but I would not be so quick
> to assume that Microsoft is stupid.  It wasn't all that long ago
> that people were crowing that Netscape had dethroned Microsoft
> thanks to the idea of web browsers, but MSIE is making major
> inroads there.  Microsoft can do the same with Java.

Front page of Computer Reseller news about a week
or two ago wrote that Microsoft is writing the
new JAVA standard. The article stated that JAVA
could end up like UNIX with several different versions.

rk> But MS is losing mindshare.  It is becoming obvious that MS is in
rk> panic mode trying to catch up: NetPC ? hah.  If a Windows/PC is the
rk> problem then how can a Windows/PC be the solution ?; Java ? MS said
rk> it wouldn't, now it will.

Same news magazine wrote that Microsoft is releasing
JAVA support for Windows 3.1 <G> This is after
they (MS) made the big deal about it (W3.1)
never getting JAVA support. Of course, we all
know that IBM released the JAVA developers kit
for Windows 3.1 several months ago, looks like
Microsoft is going to do it too. I wonder
how much of the IBM JAVA developers kit
for Windows 3.1 is being used by Microsoft.

Looks like Microsoft's greatest original idea
remains to be Microsoft Bob, the rest is copy
and buy. This is ok as long as there are better
ideas coming out they can copy, the real problem
comes after all they are the only player in town,
then people will have to settle for their
Microsoft Bob type of new ideas <G>.

Greetings,
   joe

--- timEd/2 1.10
 * Origin:   0   (0:0/0)

 
 
 

SUN'S JAVA: THE THREAT TO MICROSOFT IS REAL

Post by jim fro » Wed, 20 Nov 1996 04:00:00



Quote:>>I think it's a bit soon to mock Microsoft on this.  Microsoft *does*
>>have 90% of the desktops, and many developers *will* be happy to
>>use Microsoft's extensions even if those extensions only run on
>>Win32 platforms.
>    Microsoft doesn't 'have' 90% of desktops, they have 90% of *new*
>desktop systems.

I'm a little confused at your point here.  They had, at worst, 80% of
*old* desktop systems.  Most estimates peg their total market
penetration at somewhere near 85%.

Quote:>    The (real) point is, much of Microsoft's 'control' is an illusion
>caused by market momentum.

Actually market momentum is controlled by Microsoft, witness the rapid
changeover from Win3.1 to Win95 and, previously, the rapid penetratino
of Win3.1 on previously DOS-only systems.  Microsoft controls the way
the market goes by controlling the major OS distribution channels.

jim frost

--
http://world.std.com/~jimf

 
 
 

1. Was: SUN'S JAVA: THE THREAT TO MICROSOFT IS REAL

  To continue along the lines of this thread.  There is not much Microsoft
can do to compete with Java.  It has released Visual J++, and it's own Java
SDK, but that does not stop the threat to Windows if the rest of the world
becomes "cross-platform" thus having not a need for the Win32 API.

  Microsoft has one ace in the hole, which turns out to be a curse.  If they
could get Visual Basic to run cross-platform by building a virtual-machine
in place of it's run-time DLL, bingo there goes God-knows-how-many VB coders
suddenly going cross-platform.  Not to mention it is an easier to pick up
language than Java.  Microsoft cares not about OOP and proper coding, those
attributes of Java become irrelevant in Microsoft and VB coders eyes.  The
curse is it kill the need for Windows.  Therefore Microsoft will never
implement it.

  Java is the first real threat to Windows/Microsoft.  The momentum of Java
is unmatched by any IS trent over the last 20 years.  A lot of people have a
problem picturing a world without Microsoft rule.  I just tell them to
picture themselves back in 1983 saying IBM will lose it's grasp over the PC
industry over the next 5 years.  

  Things happen.  I can't help but wonder how many MS coders would be happy
if MS lost it's strangle hole over the industry.  If that were the case they
would not fear competing with MS if they were to go about their own
ventures.  People like to knock MS coders, but the truth is some of the
brightest hacker talent is up in Redmond.  Keeping them stagnant in
Microsoft-land may be keeping the next "killer app" from coming to life.

  Only time will tell where things are heading.  I hope for the sake of
progress Microsoft's shackles on the industry are broken by Java.

  Here's a nickel, got three pennies change?

2. New Arcserve/DAT problem

3. Source listing utility

4. SUN'S JAVA: THE THREAT TO MICROSOFT IS REAL

5. Extended access-list config....

6. SUN'S JAVA: THE THREAT TO MICROSOFT IS REA

7. Java and Sun win over Microsoft

8. Inter@ctive Week Online: "Sun blames Microsoft as its Java standardization plans die"

9. Microsoft just posted their Java contract with Sun

10. Sun sues Microsoft over Java!