Sun, Microsoft Cite Progress, Not Perfection


During a progress report last week, Sun CTO Greg Papadopolous and Microsoft's Andrew Layman, director of distributed systems, acknowledged there is a delay in phase one--interoperability between Java Enterprise Systems and Microsoft Active Directory--until the first half of 2005. It was due by the end of summer.

Still, the executives pointed to progress the companies have made on Java and Windows XP SP2 and Web services standards. They also cited future points of integration between Sun's N1 platform and Microsoft's Dynamic Systems Initiative, and Sun's storage technologies with Windows Server 2003.

Moreover, the two companies plan to cooperate on browser authentication to enable single sign-on.

Despite the delay, both executives said they were surprised at the similarities between their respective corporate cultures, emphasis on R&D and IP. "It's a 180-degree new turn," Papadopolous said. "One hundred and eighty days ago, we were slashing each other's tires."

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Still, the absence of Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates at the update did not go unnoticed. Gates and Papadopolous, who are managing the technical cooperation between the two companies, met with 10 mutual customers at a roundtable event in New York in August to gather requirements.

Partners say both companies and their customers will benefit from interoperability of .Net and Java, and Windows and Solaris.

"Recalling how annoyed our clients were when they were impacted by the Microsoft vs. Sun Java wars, this can only be good news for applet interoperability," said Marc Harrison, president of Silicon East, Manalapan, N.J. "But this is clearly a joint effort to keep Linux at bay."