Microsoft says .Net usage passes Java

Microsoft Corp. is boasting that it has surpassed Java usage with .Net and is preparing to make its application development platform more conducive to Web services.

In a speech at the VSLive conference in New York recently, Eric Rudder, Microsoft senior vice-president of server and tools, touted progress versus the rival Java platform as well as future products such as Indigo, a Web services offering now in beta release. Indigo is to be discussed at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles in late-October.

“It’s kind of amazing to think the last time I spoke at VSLive we were just on the cusp of shipping Visual Studio .Net 2003,” Rudder said, according to a transcript of his speech. “And we completed that, we did an amazing job of really getting that product out.”

“When we started out a year ago, it was hard. We were still behind Java by a considerable margin. They were about 30 per cent share. But we actually launched the product and made some amazing traction, started to catch up. Luckily, Java flattened out and we’ve actually passed Java usage with .Net usage, and this trend actually shows no sign of abating,” said Rudder. “So overall, competitively, we’re doing fairly well.”

Sun Microsystems Inc., inventor of Java, disagreed with Rudder’s claims about .Net now being used more than Java.

“I’m certainly extremely skeptical of .Net passing Java. There is a difficulty in measuring the market because (.Net) is all bundled together” in Windows, said Sun’s Ralph Galantine, group marketing manager for Java technologies, in Santa Clara, Calif.

“There’s a substantial Unix server market, and all those machines aren’t going to run .Net,” he said.

There are currently an estimated three million Java developers and Sun hopes to grow that number to 10 million in the next several years through efforts to make it easier to utilize Java, Galantine said.

“We’re still seeing good growth in J2EE development and good growth in Java developers,” said Galantine. “People are choosing Java for Web services development strongly.”

Rudder also discussed intentions for Visual Studio .Net.

“Our key themes for Visual Studio .Net really were connectivity, dependability, the best economics and the most productivity, and you’ll see us really continue to extend these themes and extend this lead in everything that we do,” he said.

“Of course, connectivity for us includes the latest Web services standards and great database connectivity,” Rudder.

He provided a glimpse of the company’s Indigo technology.

“On the application side, you’ll see us continue to really push forward on the envelope, really leading the Web services revolution. That technology actually just shipped in beta. It’s code-named ‘Indigo,’ and I encourage you to come to the PDC … to really hear more about that technology and how it affects you,” Rudder said.

Microsoft at the PDC also plans to give away a CD with some of the company’s Longhorn software and the next version of technology in Visual Studio. Longhorn is the next generation of Windows, due to ship in 2005.

Rudder provided details on other technology plans as well.

The Windows Server 2003 operating platform will be rounded out this year with 64-bit computing support and full support for AMD machines and Intel Itanium 2 systems, Rudder said.

The planned Identity Integration Pack will enable corporations to utilize the Web Services Security specification, he said.

Additionally, Microsoft plans to take its management offerings and bundle them into a single packaged called Systems Center, featuring the next generation of technologies around System Management Server, Microsoft Operations Manager, and Application Center, according to Rudder.

Microsoft also is eyeing performance enhancements for its ASP.Net (Active Server Pages) platform in terms of caching with databases. The next generation of device support will come with the Compact Framework and enhancements to the company’s embedded CE technology and offerings for devices, Rudder said.

Microsoft is targeting Unix users with its Services for Unix offering, which will be enhanced for users that either need to interoperate with Unix or want to bring components over to Microsoft’s platform, Rudder said.