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Microsoft Java software gets a reprieve until 2007

Support was set to end on Sept. 30

By Joris Evers
April 14, 2004 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - Users of Microsoft Corp.'s Java Virtual Machine have an extra three years to drop the software and migrate to Microsoft's .Net or a competing Java product, following the company's broad deal with Sun Microsystems Inc. early this month.
Microsoft was set to end support for its JVM on Sept. 30, much to the dismay of developers who had built applications to work with the software. Now Microsoft has extended security patch support for its JVM until Dec. 31, 2007, Brian Keller, a Microsoft product manager, said yesterday. Security patches are the only support Microsoft provides for the JVM.
"This is certainly very good for many of our customers. It means they have over three additional years to migrate their applications. In some cases those applications were already set to retire before 2007," Keller said. The extension was agreed on in the settlement and collaboration pact Microsoft struck with Sun this month (see story).
JVM is software that enables users to run applications written in Java, the programming language created by Sun. Many developers have built applications for Microsoft's JVM because the software is widely distributed. Most Windows users have Microsoft's JVM installed, according to Keller.
Java applets are widely used to make Web sites, such as banking and shopping sites, more dynamic.
After a feud over Microsoft's alleged misuse of Sun's Java technology, the companies agreed in a legal settlement in 2001 that Microsoft would retire its JVM on Jan. 2, 2004. Last October, Microsoft and Sun agreed to an extension until September 2004, and earlier this month they further extended the period in which Microsoft can provide security patches for its JVM until the end of 2007.
Microsoft advises customers not to put off moving from its JVM. The software is outdated because Microsoft, under its agreement with Sun, hasn't been allowed to enhance it but only to provide critical security patches, Keller said.

Extending support is good news for users, said John Rymer, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based vice president at Forrester Research Inc. "Users faced a forced migration, essentially one that created no value, replacing one JVM with another," he said. Many users aren't interested in migrating to Microsoft's .Net platform but want to stay with Java, he said.
"There is cost and time involved in the migration. Users have gotten a reprieve as a result of this peace treaty with Sun. However, they still will face migration at some point. Microsoft has been pretty adamant about not supporting Java," Rymer said. Keeping the Microsoft JVM after support expires would be a security risk, he said.

Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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