Technology

Microsoft Renews Hostilities

Global Crossing goes south of the border, while PDA and broadband growth sizzles.
Joseph RadiganJanuary 26, 2001

You have to hand it to the boys from Redmond, otherwise known as Microsoft. Two days after the company settled a lawsuit with rival Sun Microsystems over alleged misuse of Sun’s Java computer language, Microsoft did an about face and unveiled a plan aimed at getting Java developers to support to its own technology.

Now, we’re not lawyers here, but if that doesn’t violate the letter of the out of court settlement, it certainly stretches the agreement’s spirit to the breaking point. But, hey, Microsoft’s federal antitrust case is nearing its final stage in appeals court, and maybe the company’s high-powered legal team was feeling bored. Picking on Sun is one way to keep them busy.

You also have to give Microsoft’s marketing team extra points for being clever. The company is calling its anti-Sun initiative the Java User Migration Path to Microsoft .NET.

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Wanna know the acronym for that mouthful? JUMP to .NET. Bet even Bill Gates himself got a chuckle out of that one.

Of course, you would have had a bit of trouble finding out about this program if you went to Microsoft’s Web site. Its servers were suffering from their third straight day of service outages, although by late afternoon East Coast time, the company’s home page was available.

By mid-afternoon Thursday, Sun had not yet issued a statement on the Microsoft move. But with Microsoft’s Web sites suffering some service failures yet again, maybe Sun didn’t need to. After all, what software developer is going to want to bet his company on the .NET strategy if Microsoft has so much trouble getting its own Web sites to work?

The Microsoft program is designed let software developers convert Java programs into a form that can work with Microsoft’s .NET strategy, which plans to use the Windows operating system as a foundation for Internet applications and services.

Down Mexico Way

Cnet News reported that Global Crossing announced Thursday the completion of a 10,000- kilometer fiber-optic network, dubbed the Pan American Crossing, that will connect Mexico and the United States to Central America and the Caribbean.

The Bermuda-based company completed construction of the network extension last December and finished testing it this month. In November, Global Crossing started service in South America with links to Brazil and Argentina. The company’s network also operates in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

Reuters reported that U.S. sales of personal digital assistants, such as the Palm Pilot, more than doubled in 2000.

According to research firm NPD Intelect Market Tracking, total sales of the wallet-sized computers soared to $1 billion in 2000, up from $436.4 million in 1999, a jump of 161 percent.

In all, vendors sold 3.5 million of the units, compared to 1.3 million in the previous year.

Work Faster! Work Faster!

Reuters also reported that the number of people in the workplace with high-speed Internet access at work will more than double by 2005, growing to 55 million in 2005 from 24 million in 2000.

The forecast was released on Thursday in a study from the New York market research firm, Jupiter Media Metrix.

While only 57 percent of the 42.7 million at- work Internet users currently make use of high- speed connectivity in the workplace, Jupiter analysts expect 87 percent of employees with Internet connectivity in the U.S. to use a high-speed connection by 2005.

Jupiter also predicts that dial-up access will fall by more than half to 8.1 million users in 2005 from about 18.5 million in 1999.