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Microsoft to Restore JVM to Windows XP

Microsoft has decided to put its Java Virtual Machine, based on an aging version of Java, back in Windows XP via the first Windows XP Service Pack.

The decision reverses Redmond's surprise decision last July to pull the Java Virtual Machine out of Windows XP just before releasing the client operating system.

Some media outlets including the Wall Street Journal noted Microsoft's Tuesday disclosure that it was reinstalling the Microsoft JVM came one day before closing arguments between Microsoft and the non-settling states in the antitrust case.

In any event, the JVM is another non-bug-related, high-profile addition to the first service pack for Windows XP, which is expected to be available by the fall. Microsoft is also including an antitrust consent decree-related wizard and kit that allows users or OEMs to hide icons to Microsoft middleware such as Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Outlook Explorer and other components.

Microsoft's policy on support for the Java Virtual Machine is complicated by a January 2001 legal agreement that ended a lawsuit Sun Microsystems filed in 1997. Sun had charged Microsoft with violating its licensing agreement by creating a Windows-specific version of Java. The settlement gave Microsoft the right to distribute version 1.1.4 of Java until 2008. Even at the time of the agreement, Sun was already distributing version 2.1, although many developers maintain that most Java applets on the Web support the older Java version.

Sun has a free, up-to-date Java virtual machine available for download on its Web site.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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