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Microsoft pooh-poohs Sun's new Jini

July 17, 1998
Web posted at: 11:00 AM EDT

by Jason Krause

(IDG) -- Sun and Microsoft are duking out their differences in court over Java, so it should be no surprise that Sun's latest Java announcement, Jini, has won no fans in Redmond.

According to Joe Herman, Microsoft's group product manager for platform architecture, the company has no plans to support Jini in any products, although the company will certainly evaluate it for future releases. "[Jini's] capabilities already exist in the network OS, so there's no real reason for us to support it," he said.

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Sun's latest offering has arrived with the same sort of hype that surrounded Java when it was introduced a few years ago. Microsoft's response to Java has been to try and portray it as just another programming language, and not as a platform like Windows. The company is also happy to play down Jini.

"Right now there's no way for a Java Station to talk to a printer, even to find out what a printer's resolution is," says Microsoft's Herman. "Jini offers a basic kind of connectivity. It's not that interesting. It's not like we haven't seen this before. Sun goes back and forth over whether they want to push Java as an OS."

Microsoft will get the chance to make a more informed attack on Monday when Sun announces further details about Jini.

"If Jini does compete in any way with Windows NT, if it competes with Microsoft's Internet services or with COM, there's no way Microsoft will support it," says Evan Quinn, Java analyst with IDC.

According to Herman, Microsoft already has the answer to Jini: a Java technology called J/Direct that allows Java applets to talk to a Windows API directly. However, Quinn finds the comparison unconvincing. "J/Direct is a pipe to the Windows API, not a networking architecture. That's like comparing apples and oranges," he says.

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