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Microsoft jabs Java

The software giant says the cross-platform language will splinter like Unix.

SEATTLE--Microsoft (MSFT) used today's Windows briefing to take a jab at Java.

After no mention of the J-word all day, Microsoft vice president Paul Maritz summed up the Windows briefing by bodyslamming Java and mocking its cross-platform mantra.

"It's write once, run 42 percent of everywhere," said Maritz at today's press conference

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Maritz praised Java as a programming language but scoffed at attempts to make it an application platform. Microsoft's support of Java will focus on tools to create Java-based applications that run best or only on the Windows platform.

Microsoft is betting that the software development market, where it wields enormous influence because of its domination of the desktop, will effectively fracture Java into incompatible flavors, much like the Unix market.

"We look to provide mechanisms that let developers be economically viable against their competitors," Maritz said. "We think sheer economics will force other OS vendors to do the same."

Meanwhile, Java's backers are racing to add support for more features, such as file systems and multimedia, to the technology's underlying architecture.