Microsoft extends life of its Java Virtual Machine

In an early sign of teamwork between the software giant and Sun, Microsoft will extend support for its JVM to 2007. But distribution has been halted, along with all enhancements and bug fixes.

Microsoft will extend support for its Java Virtual Machine in Microsoft products until the end of 2007.

The company posted a notice on its developer Web site April 8 indicating that Microsoft and Sun Microsystems have agreed to extend Microsoft's Java license, which will allow Microsoft to continue support for its JVM. The Microsoft JVM is the software needed to run Java programs on numerous Windows PC applications, such as older versions of Microsoft Office.

Microsoft is no longer distributing the Microsoft JVM and is not releasing any enhancements to it, the company said.

The extension of Microsoft's Java support is one of the first indications of teamwork between the software giant and Sun, which earlier this month signed a sweeping agreement to dismiss ongoing litigation and cooperate on product interoperability.

Before the settlement, Microsoft's license of the JVM had been the subject of a drawn-out legal battle, where Sun contended that Microsoft violated the terms of its license.

In 2001, the companies reached an agreement, in which Microsoft would stop shipping products that included a Microsoft-written JVM by January 2004. In October, that deadline was extended to September, 2004. With this latest arrangement between Sun and Microsoft, that support deadline has been extended again, to Dec. 31, 2007.

Microsoft is encouraging its customers to upgrade their PCs to JVMs from other providers, such as Sun, which are enhanced with the latest features and bug fixes.

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