In a call to arms against Microsoft's .NET initiative, Sun Microsystems President and COO Ed Zander said in his keynote speech at JavaOne that Java developers should eschew Microsoft's offerings and stay the course in their commitment to Java, saying that Java offered the best route to tomorrow's "killer apps."
Specifically, Zander warned against committing to closed systems from Microsoft, as opposed to the open-systems philosophy behind Java. "You're going to hear about Active Directory, you're going to hear a lot about Passport, and you're going to hear a lot about HailStorm," he said. "I urge all of you to take this as seriously as we took it in 1995 and 1996. We must kep the Internet open. We must keep our transactions open. We must keep our financial services open."
The best way to beat Microsoft, Zander argued, is to arrive first at tomorrow's "killer apps" -- which, in the case of the Internet, are best delivered via Java.
"The killer apps of tomorrow will be personalization and proximity," Zander said. Vendors can add value to their products through "smart" appliances that know and can learn about users, their preferences and their location.
He also reiterated the company's commitment to Java running on a wide range of devices, arguing "that Java is a technology, not a business," and that it needs to be seen as being interchangeable with Internet technology. That means that the future
"I think that the Internet will truly arrive when it becomes invisible," he said.
Despite the impending threat from Microsoft, Zander says that we are on the brink of opportunities in defining tomorrow's technology as the Internet moves to a next phase of a services-based paradigm. "It's 1996 all over again," he said.