Microsoft blesses Java for phones while it hides Java for Windows

Windows Update mode only

While Microsoft has confirmed that latest builds of Windows XP won't support Java, Redmond seems to be keeping quiet about its endorsement of Sun's platform on other devices.

The Beast is embracing Java with some fervour, exhibiting it at the Windows Embedded Developer Conference in Japan recently.

Microsoft showed off the microJBlend kit for CE authored by Aplix, and gave it a ringing endorsement:-

"In addition to the .NET strategy it is now pursuing, the company sees the Aplix CLDC/KVM-based microJBlend, the platform of choice for embedded Java, as the quickest way to meet the demand for a Java language development environment for Windows CE," according to a joint press release issued here. But that's in Japan - so you're not really supposed to know about it.

Java, or more specifically the MIDP extension set to J2ME, has established itself in the past year as the single standard for smartphones based on the weird, home-brewed proprietary OSes currently used by handset manufacturers in their 2G devices. Most of these are only available in Japan, but Motorola has a Nextel handset that delivers Java over CPDP in the US, and most of the new phones we've seen that do more than just voice and text have at least a KJava run time.

So Microsoft, which has failed to win any Tier 1 backers for its Stinger phone platform, has little choice but to go with the flow.

That isn't the case on the desktop, and as sure as night follows day, each Windows release is preceded by a grumble about Java. This time it's for real. The Wall Street Journal reports that latest XP builds only include Java support as an option in the Windows Update, which Microsoft has subsequently confirmed, citing 'business reasons'.

Since Microsoft settled its copyright dispute with Sun it's been obliged to call it the Microsoft VM instead, and remove any references to the J-word.

A Redmond spokesman quoted by Reuters described the VM as "a lot of code that many users don't need.".

Now if only the Beast could do the same for the many megabytes of COM+ code it bundles with every copy of Windows 2000 (a quick run through our Services list shows we've got Microsoft Transaction Co-Ordinator, Event Publisher, Transaction Services Client and a ton of others stuff we didn't ask for), we'd be prepared to call it evens. ®

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