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Microsoft's J/Direct called an attempt to co-opt Java Universal-use software could be tied to Windows

Microsoft Corp. has taken its boldest step yet toward co-opting Java, a programming language that was supposed to eliminate distinctions among computers but that Microsoft wants reconstitute in a unique Windows flavor.

The announcement last week of J/Direct could eventually torpedo the efforts of companies that hope to use Java's promise of an easy, unifying programming language to weaken the software giant.

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If Java programs are written under the J/Direct guidelines, they will work more closely with Windows, but will not work in any other environment, such as Unix.

"This is a trap," said David Spenhoff, director of product marketing at JavaSoft, a business unit of Sun Microsystems Inc., where Java was invented. "This is just one more attempt to lock Java applications into Windows, and it defeats the purpose of Java."

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Java, released nearly two years ago, has been promoted by Sun, Oracle Corp., Netscape Communications Corp. and others.

Software developers have embraced Java largely because the language is much easier than others to program.

Pub Date: 6/22/97


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