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Sun Rallies More Java Support From Equipment Makers

Sun Microsystems has signed up more partners to carry the latest version of the Java client-side platform on their PCs.

Sun Microsystems has signed up more original equipment maker partners to carry the latest version of the Java client-side platform on their PCs, a company executive said Tuesday.

Acer, Gateway, Samsung, Toshiba, and Chinese PC manufacturer Tsinghua Tonfang have signed technology licensing agreements with Sun to carry the Java 2 Standard Edition (J2SE) runtime on their PC and laptops, said Rich Green, Sun's VP and general manager for the Java and XML platform.

All of the vendors will have the latest J2SE support shipping natively on their PCs and laptops by next year, according to Sun. Samsung will begin shipping Java-supported PC and notebook computers by as early as December.

The move is further proof that Microsoft's decision to keep native Java support out of its Windows XP operating system will not affect the Java user's experience when running Java applications on XP, Green said.

Green said although a U.S. appellate judge reversed a Jan. 21 ruling that would have forced Microsoft to include Java in XP, the deals with equipment makers to carry Java on their PCs and laptop computers essentially produces the same result. "Consumers will see Java as it is [in applications]," Green said. "Because we're most interested in the distribution of Java, to Sun and consumers it's a benefit. I do not think Microsoft would see this as a win."

Microsoft discontinued native Java support in Windows XP in February. It does provide customers with a plug-in of an earlier version of Java that can be installed to support Java in applications such as Internet Explorer. However, the version is out of date with the current version of J2SE because of a settlement in a previous licensing dispute with Sun that prevents Microsoft from distributing the latest versions of the Java platform.

In March 2002, Sun filed a private antitrust suit against Microsoft. As part of that suit, Sun sought a preliminary injunction requiring Microsoft to include a current Java virtual machine in Windows XP. A judge granted the injunction in January, but an appeals court overturned that decision in June.

Previously, Apple, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard struck deals with Sun to ship J2SE on their PCs and laptops, while Lindows.com and Red Hat have licensed Java for their Linux distributions.

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