Java to ship on Dell, HP PCs

Sun Microsystems Inc. on Wednesday announced agreements with Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) and Dell Computer Corp. to distribute Sun’s Java Runtime Environment (JRE) on desktop personal computers sold by the two companies.

The agreements, which were signed within the last 24 hours, mean that HP will ship the JRE on Windows PCs by the third quarter of 2003. Dell has agreed to ship the JRE with Linux and Windows PCs, although no shipping date was given.

"We're doing our best to make sure that Java is absolutely everywhere," said Sun Vice President and General Manager of Java Software Rich Green, in a keynote speech at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco.

On Tuesday, Sun unveiled a new Java logo designed to appeal to consumers. The company has been working with the J. Walter Thompson Co. advertising agency to promote the brand directly to consumers. The company has also revamped its Java.com Web site to make it more accessible to consumers and easier to download the Java runtime.

Microsoft stopped shipping Java with its Windows XP Service Pack 1a this February, and today's announcement was seen as a way to keep Java on Windows machines.

"Any path toward universal Java distribution, they'll take it," said Meta Group Inc. analyst Nick Gall, referring to Sun. "Why not do an end run around Microsoft?".

Sun has yet to sign a similar deal with IBM Corp, said Sun Executive Vice President of Software Jonathan Schwartz.

"I think IBM took a risk in distancing themselves from the rest of the industry," said Schwartz. "I think they’re a little concerned with their litigation," he added, referring to IBM’s current lawsuit with The SCO Group, Inc.

"It’s a good way to deliver Java without Microsoft," said Dejan Pecar, a Java developer with Abacus Research AG, who watched Green's keynote at JavaOne.

Sun’s efforts to increase brand awareness and encourage downloading of the JRE at Java.com also showed some promise, Pecar said. "You also have to download Shockwave, and people do that," he said, referring to Macromedia Inc.'s multimedia software.

But the Meta Group's Gall said that the importance of distributing Java with desktop PCs may be overstated. "I've never heard from any of our users that their hesitation about using Java was that it wasn’t in their OS", he said.

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Robert McMillan

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