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Marimba to dance with Apple

Macworld Expo Apple is the latest company to reserve a spot on the dance card of Web software debutante Marimba.

Macworld Expo SAN FRANCISCO--Apple Computer (AAPL) is the latest company to reserve a spot on the dance card of Web software debutante Marimba.

The technology alliance will bring the Marimba Castanet Tuner, which is server software for "pushing" information onto users' computer screens, to the next generation of the Mac OS Runtime for Java sometime later this year, the companies announced today.

Gil Amelio, Apple chairman and chief executive officer, is expected to deliver the details of plans to incorporate the Castanet Tuner into its installation configurations when he speaks at the Macworld trade show here today.

The Runtime software is Apple's implementation of Sun Microsystems' Java Virtual Machine for Macintosh PCs. Once it is configured into the Mac system software, the tuner will allow constantly updated multimedia data to be "pushed" or broadcast to user's desktops, saving the trouble of surfing Web sites to compile information. Users will be able to access Castanet channels for updating software applications, as well.

Although Marimba's tuner is written entirely in Sun's cross-platform Java language, the company initially did not release a Mac version of the software due to poor Java support on the Apple OS. Today, a Marimba executive said that Java support on the Mas has imporved markedly with the Mac OS Runtime for Java.

"The Mac virtual machine has gotten much better," said Robert Currie, vice president of engineering at Marimba. "We've been working very closely with the Mac R and D team."

As Web software developers have rushed to make using the medium quicker and less laborious in the last year, Marimba has generated interest both within the computer industry and in the corporate world.

Netscape Communications recently announced plans to integrate Castanet's Tuner into its desktop software, code-named Constellation. Microsoft is also talking to the Palo Alto, California-based start-up about incorporating the same piece of software into its Explorer 4.0 Active Desktop software.

Microsoft has already signed deals with another new "push broadcast" software maker, PointCast. Unlike PointCast, which has taken the Net by storm this year by offering content channels supported by advertising, Marimba's client-server tools are designed for companies looking to use similar technology to deliver corporate information and software over private networks.

Apple's Runtime 1.0 is already available from the company's Web site. A beta version Marimba's Tuner for the Mac OS is scheduled to be available at Marimba site next month. The next generation of the Mac OS Runtime for Java 1.5 with built-in Castanet Tuner technology is due later this year.