IBM Corp. said Sun Microsystems Inc.'s ownership of Java is a control point that is driving down the value of the Internet.
On a press tour to herald its support for open standards for the Internet, executives from IBM, based here, said Sun is waffling on its proprietary hold on the technology. It must either hasten the adoption of shared standards for Java or admit it will never give up its ownership, they said.
Sun abandoned efforts to get Java standardized by the International Standards Organization (ISO) in December. Since then IBM, both a competitor and partner of Sun, has been trying to rally opposition to Sun's control of Java.
"[Sun] still wants to control the Java brand at all costs [because] they value the Java brand over the industry's technology," said Simon Phipps, chief e-business visionary for Armonk-based IBM. "At this point they're burning trust--they have to admit that it's proprietary or make it a standard."
If Sun will not give up its hold on Java, said Phipps, the industry likely will move forward with a replacement technology that supports open standards because the future of the e-marketplace will not grow in value without such standards.
Scott Hebner, director of e-business technology marketing for IBM, said as Internet technologies evolve toward complex e-marketplaces, the interdependencies that grow between businesses will fuel the need for open standards.
"[Technologies such as] XML and Java used to be luxuries," Hebner said. "Now they become a requirement as we evolve to an open standards environment."
Michael Goulde, executive vice president, research and consulting services for Boston-based Patricia Seybold Group, agreed that standards are important to the growth of the Internet and e-business. But he said IBM is dreaming if it thinks Sun will ever give up Java or the industry will ever stop using it to build Internet-based solutions.
"The cold, harsh reality is that de facto standards often count as much or more than open standards," said Goulde. "At this point, Java is the de facto standard for e-business applications. Nothing Microsoft [Corp.] nor IBM is going to do will change that."
He added that even if Sun submitted Java to a standards consortium, it will not hasten the adoption of open standards for the technology.
"The Java market's biggest frustration is Sun's inability to move the specifications forward at a faster pace," said Goulde. "But putting the standards in a consortium would slow the process down, not speed it up."
Sun, Palo Alto, Calif., may not let go of the Java reins anytime soon, but last week it did respond to feedback from vendors and helped form a panel to revise the Java Community Process (JCP).
The JCP is responsible for developing Java specification and referencing implementations and associated compatibility test suites.
The panel, which includes representatives from IBM and other vendors using Java, will draft JCP 2.0, a document that will formalize how the JCP will work, according to Sun.
The panel should go live with JCP 2.0 in late August, Sun said.