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Sun recruits Insignia to boost embedded Java

But there seems to be a sub-text of tough negotiation here...

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Sun is beefing up its embedded Java efforts by sharing Java source code with British software developer Insignia Solutions. The two companies today announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding whereby the two companies would "work towards an agreement giving Insignia immediate [sic] access to Sun's source code for the Java platform." It seems fairly obvious that they know what they want to do, but that there's still some haggling to be done over the terms and conditions. According to Sun Java Software president Alan Baratz this is the first deal (or possibly first projected deal of a series. "We are sharing our source code with companies and individuals [what could he mean by this?] committed to compatible implementations of the Java platform," said Baratz. The Insignia deal, as and when it gets finally signed off, will clearly help both companies. Sun announced the completion of its embedded Java spec in early November, and at the same time HP unveiled its embedded Java alliance, which seemed a pretty clear move in the campaign to wrest control of Java away from Sun. Getting Insignia inside the tent will help Sun counter HP (although we can presume that the fact that they're working towards an agreement rather than announcing one means Insignia is trying to loosen the apron strings a bit). But Insignia itself needs a boost. The company is desperately clever, but its revenues from emulation software (SoftPC for Mac, and RealPC for Unix) are eroding. Earlier this year it sold its Citrix-derived product NTrigue plus a bunch of clients and a development team to Citrix. It then effectively bet the ranch on Java development. Insignia now has the Embedded Virtual Machine, and JENE, an implementation of Java for embedded systems. If one were cynical one might muse that here we have a very good development operation with product ready to roll, and a large company trying to quell an insurrection by accelerating development of products and specifications in just that area. JENE incidentally runs on Intel, Hitachi SH and MIPS, all of which are areas where Sun might be expected to be weak. ®

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