IBM, Sun , Netscape, and Oracle are presenting a united front against Microsoft's "Klingon empire," according to Lotus's John Landry.
During his Object World West 97 keynote speech, Landry pitched the combined forces of Java and CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) against Microsoft's Windows, ActiveX, and DCOM (Distributed Common Object Model) architecture. By equating Microsoft to "Klingons," villains in the Star Trek television series, Landry was referring to an Object Management Group in-joke, one actually started by Netscape.
Microsoft's chairman and CEO Bill Gates is trying to hijack Java by asking developers to write to Microsoft's version of Java, according to Landry.
"Microsoft Java will run everywhere but it will just run better on Windows," said Landry, a strategic technology consultant for Lotus.
The real battle between technology vendors will take place not just in selling technology but in offering services over the Web, Landry said. Microsoft is well aware of this, with its forays into electronic commerce, such as Expedia, its Web-based travel service, and Sidewalk, its Web-based listings guide.
"What is happening is that Microsoft is beginning to compete with its own customer base," Landry said. "This is risky, but interesting. They are doing this for two reasons. First they see the opportunity, and second, they believe their customers don't see the opportunity."
Landry pointed out, however, that Microsoft's strategy was essentially flawed. By trying to acquire the network, with its recent US$1 billion investment in Comcast Corp., and the technology, with its planned $425 million acquisition of Web TV Networks Inc., Microsoft is trying to hijack the push towards Java.
"I don't care how much money he has, he can't buy everything," Landry said.
There is one good way to tell which is more popular, Java or ActiveX, Landry said, and that is by the number of books in your local bookstore.
"I measured 187 feet of Java books and six inches of ActiveX books in my local Barnes and Noble," Landry said.