AT&T officials confirmed they have concluded a licensing agreement with Sun for Java, but that plans for its use are just beginning. "We're still evaluating how we might use it," said Kevin Compton, an AT&T spokesperson.
The licensing deal is expected to dovetail with the company's plans to become a major Internet access provider, which were detailed yesterday.
"For AT&T, if they're going to present themselves as the access provider for the Internet, Java is important," said Nate Zelnick, an analyst with MecklerMedia, based in Westport, Connecticut. "Java is a checklist item at this point [for Internet vendors]. Everybody's got to do it."
At the same time, AT&T isn't putting all its eggs in one basket. The company is brewing its own version of Java, called Inferno, which it announced two weeks ago at the UniForum conference.
Sun officials this week confirmed that Bandai has also licensed Java. Although Bandai officials could not be reached for comment, the company is expected to incorporate Java into its forthcoming Internet access terminal based on Apple's Pippin operating system, a slimmed-down version of the Macintosh designed for interactive game, CD-ROM, and Internet-access appliances.