Microsoft says it plans to incorporate its new new DirectX multimedia technology into its Java virtual machine.
A DirectX and Java merger would give Microsoft a stronger position in cross-platform multimedia development if it could encourage Java developers write to the DirectX API using Java.
Eric Engstrom, group program manager of Microsoft's Internet multimedia group, said Microsoft will use Liquid Motion to bring DirectX to Java. He called it the first step in developing a common set of multimedia APIs that can be used in a cross-device, cross-platform way.
"We want a nice Java API - something that is designed to work well within the Java paradigm - in DirectX," Engstrom says. "It's going to look like a Java API, and we will make it accessible for both artists and Java programmers. We wanted a Java API that Java people will love but will look like a C API."
Microsoft recently obtained the DirectX technology through the acquisition of Dimension X, a two- and three-dimensional Virtual Reality Modeling Language development company focused on multimedia development in Java.
Microsoft's efforts to integrate DirectX and Java follows the company's usual tack, says one industry expert.
"That is completely in line with what they have been doing with Java," says John Rymer, an industry analyst with Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Giga Information Group. "They are going to create a Java environment in the image of Windows."
Rymer expects more of the same type of moves from Microsoft in the future. Other analysts suggest there may be resistance among Java programmers to a new, proprietary set of multimedia APIs when the multimedia classes incorporated into Java in the past year have won broad approval.