Missing Something?

By excluding Java Virtual Machine in Windows XP, Microsoft puts users in the middle of its playground war.

Complete the sentence:

A browser without a Java Virtual Machine is like...

A browser without a Java VM.
A tuna sandwich without a pressed-tin ceiling.
The NBA without tall people.
A fine example of the "Freedom To Innovate."
The version of IE (6.0) shipping with Windows XP.

If you don't know the answer, Auntie suggests you take your brother-in-law up on that long-standing offer to join him in the fast-food franchise business.

Microsoft says it's not including a JVM because it's trying to keep the shipping size of the OS under control. Ha-ha-ha! Snort! Guffaw! Chortle! Microsoft includes everything from rollup mats for sushi to a distributor cap for a 1963 Rambler American in the dang OS these days.

Microsoft says users who need Java support can download Microsoft's JVM from—or, for that matter, Sun's JVM from Sun's Web site. Even setting aside the near certainty that IE 6.0 and Sun's JVM just won't get along as well as Microsoft's JVM, this is gonna be a real big pain to users who aren't Geeks Like Us, if for nothing else than the approximate 5MB size of the JVM. Gosh, what fun to have to squeeze that through dial-up just in order to have full browser functionality!

And that's where Microsoft's strained logic really falls on its, uh, face. The idea that the company is taking an action that's going to effectively degrade the Internet experience for millions of users belies every last bit of spin it can put out.

Look, this is going to be a bigger pain for home users than for IT staff. We can include a JVM in our base-system builds so that our users don't have to go through the downloading nonsense, and all it takes is an extra step in the build process. It's more the idea that we have to go through the extra step that kicks up this youngster's blood pressure.

Personally, I'm emotionally neutral when it comes to Java. I don't code in it, because I don't code in C-type languages. I don't love it, I don't hate it; but there's no way I can avoid it as a user, and I feel no particular urge to. Java is practically as ubiquitous in today's landscape as is Windows itself. If this is keeping Bill and Steve up at night, I say, "Drink a glass of warm milk, buy another Matisse and get over it already!"

This all goes back to Microsoft and Sun's "I Sue You, You Sue Me, We're as Cranky as Two Can Be" legal tangle over Java and the bad blood between the two companies because no court has, to date, ruled that either can declare themselves Ultimate Masters of the Universe.

Redmond's justifications on this one are thinner than Ally McBeal turned sideways. No matter where you stand on the overall issue of Microsoft's business practices, there's no other call to make than saying that the decision to not ship a Java Virtual Machine with XP/IE 6.0 is one based in strategy and spite. It's not in the best interest of Microsoft's customers and it adds to the process of building Windows systems for the business environment.


About the Author

Em C. Pea, MCP, is a technology consultant, writer and now budding nanotechnologist who you can expect to turn up somewhere writing about technology once again.

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Reader Comments:

Wed, May 5, 2004 Wedzmin Vancouver

Well they already ripped off Java and affiliated it to their famous C family.. Now they have to make sure nobody remembers what the real thing looked like.

Sun, Oct 5, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous


Mon, Sep 9, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

MS sucks

Tue, Dec 11, 2001 Willy Anonymous

I admire Microsoft, but they are stupid and arrogant to try to manipulate the market this way. It is monopolistic bullying of the highest order. Em C. Pea is right on target!

Mon, Oct 22, 2001 Jeff DC

Sun sued MS...Sun is getting what it wants...Sun should have been wary of what it wished for.

Tue, Oct 16, 2001 ryan SilVal

Java is slow and unreliable... good riddance.

Sun, Oct 14, 2001 Kenny Meyer Amelia, Ohio

Free Enterprise! We need more , keep the Federal Government out of it,they have enough to do. If you don't like MS buy a Mac use Linux. It's a free country!

Sat, Oct 13, 2001 Anonymous Anonymous

very good

Thu, Oct 11, 2001 bill redmond

Ok, MS is sick of the bashing it is getting just because it made more money than some other companies. If you want to hit someone, hit AOL-Time-Warner....watever the hell other names it has added since then. Talk about monopoly!

Thu, Oct 11, 2001 printmaker Manlius NY

On the mark - also seriously funny. (Is it possible to be seriously funny)?

Thu, Oct 11, 2001 Anonymous Wisconsin

The author misses the point - Sun tried to one-up MS and it backfired. It would be as if GM included Toyota parts in their cars, and when Toyota tries to force them to use the parts differently, GM just goes all GM. Basically just another author bashing MS without reading the fine print...

Thu, Oct 11, 2001 Anonymous Anonymous

Microsoft will do whatever it takes to dominate the industry. They show no allegiance to thier customers only to their stockholders, the biggest of which are their own executives.

Thu, Oct 11, 2001 Shadowlance Anonymous

Let me know if this statement is accurate: As long as you have "Install on demand - Other" enabled in your advanced IE options, IE6.0 will prompt you to download the MS JVM on the fly when you access a site that would require it. Most people will click "Yes" and download the JVM and be on their merry way using Java on that site. Isn't this adequate?

Thu, Oct 11, 2001 Anonymous Anonymous

Microsoft cannot legally include a current version of Java in IE. For all practical purposes this situation is as much SUN's doing as MS's. It was rather foolish of SUN to think MS would bow to all SUN's demands. I personally think SUN misbehaves as much as MS -- but of course SUN has its staunch adherents especially in the Open Source courts. Yes SUN does have some good ideas about proper Java security. But overall SUN is in no position to dictate security to MS given all the severe failures it has had.

Thu, Oct 11, 2001 Anonymous Anonymous

You got it.

Thu, Oct 11, 2001 Anonymous Anonymous

Good job, thank you.

Thu, Oct 11, 2001 Anonymous Anonymous

Right ON!

Wed, Oct 10, 2001 Alan Schnarrenberger Anonymous

Certainly Microsoft is going around Java because of their loss in court on continuing use of Java in Visual J++, and also their own investment in C#. Maybe another attempt to defuse the proliferation of Java?

Wed, Oct 10, 2001 Anonymous Anonymous


Wed, Oct 10, 2001 Anonymous California

You're right, this is because the two giants each want to be master of the universe.

But really, why does MS (or any company) have to include something from a competitor that has vowed to try and destroy their company? If you want MS to be a distribution for any and all other products from potential competitors, then maybe the US government should buy the company .

Wed, Oct 10, 2001 Fred Lovine Anonymous

The picture is bigger than this. MS seeks more revenue. By not including a JVM, many consumers will not be able to use Java based commercial websites. So, businesses will have to move away from Java or lose customers. What will MS push them to? .NET of course. MS is not spiteful, just hungry for market share and cash.

Wed, Oct 10, 2001 noizman Vancouver BC

And MS misses the big picture again.

Tue, Oct 9, 2001 Anonymous England

Thats the reason?!

Tue, Oct 2, 2001 Anonymous Kirkland, WA


Thu, Sep 27, 2001 Anonymous Anonymous

none; on target

Thu, Sep 27, 2001 Anonymous Anonymous

good insight

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