Sun signs on to Microsoft's Universal Plug N Play

Some observers see UPnP as a rival to a technology being developed by Sun called Jini. Both technologies, which are still being developed, allow devices like printers and scanners to be connected easily to networks, and then to electronically "announce their presence" on the network so that users can tap into their services.

Sun's name quietly appeared Monday on the list of of participating members on the UPnP Web site. Sun now looks to have a foot in both of the next-generation technology camps.

Greg Sullivan, lead product manger at Microsoft, said Sun's membership in the UPnP Forum lends support to the organisation's efforts and does not pose a threat.

"I think this is great for the UPnP Forum," he said. "It demonstrates the momentum behind the project."

Sullivan stressed that UPnP focuses on open communication protocols, an open computing language and the removal of licensing fees for the technology. He said the open nature of the project makes Sun's addition just another step toward advancing the effort and delivering devices sooner.

Over 260 companies have joined the forum, and Sullivan said some of the vendors may start showcasing UPnP-compatible devices by 2001.

"Many of the companies involved compete with each other," he said. "There is a friendly level of competition among them to say, Hey, we are going to ship the next device."

Ross Rubin, vice president and chief researcher at Jupiter Research, said he found Sun's involvement in UPnP to be an interesting move.

"It is somewhat surprising to me," he said. "Companies very often have different reasons for doing these kinds of things."

In this case, Rubin said Microsoft probably wants to find ways to drive the still immature technology. Without wide industry support and the continuing work on a standards-based system, users simply will not see these devices of the future arrive for some time.

Curtis Sasaki, director of product marketing for Sun's consumer technologies group, said that Sun will still concentrate on its Jini technology and will use its place in UPnP to take a gander at what the competition is up to.

"We kind of view this as another area that we have to get more information about," he said. "It is not that we endorse it."

Sun, like most of the UPnP members, cannot attend meetings related to the marketing or business strategies of UPnP devices. The company can, however, give its input on the development of the standards and see the status of product releases.

Microsoft included some UPnP software in its recently unveiled Windows Me consumer version of its operating system. Sullivan championed this release, but said the UPnP forum will not be reliant on Microsoft's code.

"UPnP is independent of Windows," he said. "It does not rely on Windows to work. But, will we make it work with Windows? You bet."

Sasaki said that Sun will not lag behind UPnP's efforts with Jini releases coming soon on the horizon. He added that Jini technology is currently being used by some health care management systems and airline reservation platforms and, like UPnP, is open-sourced. He also said devices might arrive ahead of the competition's expectations.

"I think there will be devices sooner than they think," he said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ashlee Vance

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?