Online bank hit by MS-Java feud

Users running Windows XP were unable to access their Internet bank accounts because the operating system does not include Microsoft's Java virtual machine

The phase-out of Microsoft's Java virtual machine from products such as Windows XP is being blamed for the inaccessibility of an Australian Internet banking site for some users.

A online banking customer contacted ZDNet Australia yesterday, claiming that he was unable to access Internet banking on St George Bank's Web site when using Windows XP, and was getting a Java error message.

A spokesperson from St George Bank confirmed that customers using Windows XP or Explorer 6 would need to download Java in order to use its Internet banking. However, the spokesperson alleged that this would be the case with any site powered by Java, not just St George Bank's Web site.

He said the first time customers tried to log on to its Internet banking they would be prompted to download the software required.

According to the St George Bank spokesperson, the Java error message would be displayed if the user had not downloaded the software needed when prompted.

Paul Roworth, product marketing manager for Windows XP at Microsoft Australia, confirmed that the Java virtual machine was not included in its Windows XP or Explorer 6.

"Essentially with Windows XP the decision was made, in wake of the settlement agreement with Sun and resolution of that litigation, to not include the (Microsoft) Java virtual machine," Roworth said.

Roworth said it wasn't denying customers gaining access to Java support in Windows XP. He said that for users upgrading to Windows XP from a previous installation of Windows that had included its Java virtual machine, then the Java virtual machine would still be retained.

He said that users who went to a site which had Java code on it, which requires the Java virtual machine, will be prompted to download it.

For users buying a new PC, Roworth said the OEM of the hardware and the operating system had the ability to preinstall the Java virtual machine in the image put onto that machine.

He said it was the same with corporate customers who were doing a standard operating environment rollout throughout their organisation, where the Java virtual machine could be preinstalled in the image.

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