US votes 'no' on Sun's ISO Java bid

Sun Microsystems Inc.'s bid to become the formal standard holder of Java suffered a blow today when the US ISO technical advisory group voted down the request.

The US is only one of 27 countries voting on the International Standards Organisation's process.

"We are disappointed. We went in there cautiously and thought there was a 50/50 chance," said George Paolini, director of corporate marketing for Sun's JavaSoft division. "But we need to keep it in perspective. Six other countries have voted, and all have voted yes. There are 27 countries involved. So right now the votes stand 6-1."

So far this evening Australia, France, Denmark, Hungary, the UK and Sweden have all voted in favour of Sun's application to ISO. 19 other countries are expected to cast their vote before the November 14 deadline.

ISO makes its decision based on a consensus of all the voting countries.

Today's vote was the second round for Sun's application to become what is technically known as a "Publicly Available Specification" submitter within ISO.

The process stated in March of last year, when Sun responded to a request from ISO that it work through the PAS process to get Java into the standards world.

At the end of the first round of voting last spring, approximately two-thirds of the countries voted "no with comments" on Sun's submission. This gave Sun the opportunity to respond to questions and to repost its PAS submission.

Sun has drawn a lot of criticism for its standards efforts - with companies such as Microsoft Corp., Digital Equipment Corp., Compaq Computer Corp. and others sending letters to Sun stating that the submission was flawed.

Today's vote took place at Microsoft's Redmond, Wash., headquarters. Microsoft is not a voting member of the US TAG.

In a statement, Microsoft officials said: "Microsoft is glad to see the U.S. vote to uphold the integrity of the international standards process. Sun's proposal to have ISO endorse their proprietary technology is a brazen marketing stunt that risks significantly devaluing the entire international standards process. Sun either needs to go all the way and make Java a real open standard or admit it is proprietary. They don't get to have their cake and eat it too. We hope the rest of the world gives the same deep consideration to the implications of Sun's proposal for the future of the international standards process."