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April 14, 2004

Stay of execution for Microsoft JVM, not related products

Microsoft Corp is extending the life of its Java Virtual Machine (MSJVM) by another three years, following last week's technology licensing deal with Sun Microsystems Inc.

By CBR Staff Writer

MSJVM will be supported by Microsoft until December 31, 2007, beyond the planned termination date of September 30, 2004, Microsoft said on its web site.

The stay-of-execution, though, does not appear to diminish Microsoft’s determination to remove MSJVM from any, and all, Windows products – the company said it plans to continue retiring and replacing Windows products using MSJVM.

Instead, the extension provides customers more time to get migrate from obsoleted products, Microsoft said.

Microsoft has been stuck with MSJVM since the 1990s, when it licensed version 1.1.4 of Sun’s Java. Sun subsequently prosecuted Microsoft for breaking the terms of that licensing deal after Microsoft, unsurprisingly, modified its JVM to run faster in Windows. Sun settled with Microsoft for $21m in January 2001.

Microsoft recently attempted to completely remove Java from Windows by shipping its first versions of Windows XP without a JVM. However, Microsoft slowly backtracked, pointing out that JVMs could be downloaded to the operating system and then making Java available for installation through Windows XP’s first Service Pack (SP).

Last December, Microsoft announced a series of products using Microsoft’s Java would be dropped from its Developer Network (MSDN), citing the legal settlement reached with Sun in January 2001.

Affected products included SQL Server 7, Office XP Developer, Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0, which would no longer be available for download from MSDN of other company channels. Microsoft in January, though, re-opened Windows 98 support after an AssetMatrix survey found Windows 98 is still used by 80% of customers.

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There will be no reprieve for products that include MSJVM, despite Microsoft’s agreement with Sun, which extends Microsoft’s Java source code and compatibility test suite license. These will continue to be retired or replaced by versions not containing MSJVM, Microsoft said. MSJVM enhancements are also ruled out.

Microsoft said its extension would provide customers with, The ability to transition from the MSJVM on a schedule that is most effective for them.

This article is based on material originally published by ComputerWire

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