Stung by criticism from licensees, executives from the JavaSoft
division of Sun Microsystems (SUNW)
said today they will improve communication with Java licensees and make a clearer distinction between Java platform efforts and specific
JavaSoft software products that might compete with licensees.
Jonathan Schwartz, who became JavaSoft's director of marketing six weeks
ago, also said JavaSoft will produce software products that complement
licensees' efforts rather than compete with them.
"You will see a much clearer delineation between the Java platform and our
products to address the concerns of our partners explicitly," Schwartz
said, promising to be much more forthright about JavaSoft's plans for both
products and the Java platform.
Echoing comments from rival Microsoft, Schwartz added: "There is a
wall between [JavaSoft] people working with the industry in
defining the Java platform and those that create software to run on the
platform." Nonetheless, JavaSoft will continue to produce Java tools, such as
Java Workshop, which competes with
Java tools from other vendors and is marketed by Sun's separate SunSoft unit.
"JavaSoft will have other products, and we view their delivery to the
marketplace simply as accelerating the deployment of enterprise
applications," he added. "We will produce products that are complementary
to products on the market, not predatory."
He also promised to improve communications with licensees about updates on
directions for the Java platform, saying meetings with licensees at last
month's JavaOne developers conference indicate great interest in timely
information. "We are going to be very careful and make sure we avail them of platform and product plans."
Schwartz, who replaced David Spenhoff, joined JavaSoft in June 1996 when
his firm, Lighthouse Design, was acquired by Sun for its object-oriented
development tools. His position focuses on JavaSoft's product strategy.
JavaSoft denied reports of an impending reorganization of the unit, blaming
rumors from inside the company. Sun has been widely reported to be unhappy
about JavaSoft's failure to turn a profit.