A Year Ago: MS' Java letter was a 'publicity stunt'

This story first appeared Tue, 23 Sep 1997 10:19:34 GMT
Written by Tom Schmidt, Contributor

Saying he wanted to "cut through the rhetoric" that surrounds Java, Alan Baratz, president of Sun Microsystems Inc.'s JavaSoft division, today unleashed a little of his own, accusing Microsoft Corp. of doing anything in its power to preserve its "monopoly status."

Baratz was responding to a letter sent two weeks ago by Microsoft, Intel Corp. and others asking Sun to turn over the technology en masse to the International Standards Organization. "All they say is to preserve their monopoly," he said. "Their strategy is self-preserving."

In a teleconference with reporters, Baratz said the Mountain View, Calif.-based Sun is proceeding with its proposal to ISO to become the standard bearer for the language but will not turn over the Java trademark. First submitted in March, Sun's proposal was struck down by the ISO voting nations by a 2-to-1 margin. However, most of the "no" votes came with attached comments. Sun intends to post responses to those comments on its Web site by the end of today, Baratz said. ISO then has 45 days to approve or reject the responses.

He added that the Java brand must be managed by a business, not a standards body. Touting a custodial role over Java for JavaSoft, Baratz cited the participation of third parties, including IBM and Netscape Communications Corp., in making Java the "genetic code" of the software industry.

Sun is driving Java, while Microsoft "has its head in the sand," Baratz said. "They'll do everything they can to push back a rising tide." Calling the recent letter "a publicity stunt," Baratz said Sun "will continue to lead the industry in the evolution of the Java platform."

Microsoft keeps on making the same mistakes, Baratz said, warming to his theme. But "by trying to take on the Net, it will lose".

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