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Nokia's Java Alliance - or "The Anti-Microsoft Club" - Gains Momentum
Nokia's Java Alliance - or "The Anti-Microsoft Club" - Gains Momentum

When BEA Systems, IBM, HP, Borland, Oracle, and Sun Microsystems combine forces, there can only be one reason...and it isn't just mutual admiration.

This "Six Pack" of software giants has just joined the so-called Open Mobile Architecture initiative, or OMA, under the terms of which these global companies, inspired by the lead of Finnish phone dynamo Nokia last month, now agree to work together to facilitate the creation of mobile services – by standardizing how mobile devices connect to the Internet.

One notable giant is missing from the OMA line-up to date...Microsoft Corp.

Given that Nokia claims it will ship some 50 million Java-enabled phones in 2002 alone, it's clear to most industry experts that OMA might just as well stand for the Outmaneuver Microsoft Alliance, because the group of companies specifically seeks to facilitate the creation of mobile services using Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) application servers. That's to say Java, not Windows/NT.

The OMA initiative reflects growing endorsement of an open standards-based mobile architecture rather than one based on any particular proprietary standard such as a company with a yen for such things might otherwise seek to develop. What Nokia, BEA, IBM, HP, Borland, Oracle, and Sun seek is above all to drive the adoption of mobile software and services by leveraging Web applications in the mobile context and by bringing mobile extensions - for example, J2EE extensions - to the fixed Internet infrastructure.

But Nokia didn't name Microsoft specifically when responding to JIN's invitation to comment. We asked Nokia spokesperson Megan Matthews for her reactions to the remarkable OMA collaboration of industry rivals and key players, and to comment on any noticeable absences. "The initiative is open to all companies who are interested in being a part of it," said Matthews, carefully. "The whole point of this initiative is showing commitment to interoperability, customer satisfaction, and seamless services."

Still no mention of Microsoft. Then Matthews continued: "We don't believe that proprietary systems are of any advantage to growing the industry,"

"The allied companies," she went on, "will use the technologies endorsed by this initiative to prevent the fragmentation that has hobbled the growth of the mobile phone market. Cooperation such as this has not been done on this scale before - it's a larger group and a greater commitment among the members to stimulate the market than has ever been done before."

The companies intend to focus on creating interoperable server solutions for service providers, corporations, and mobile operators. Joint specifications will be developed in full compliance with the guidelines provided by the relevant industry standardization bodies. This effort will lead to the development of uniform mobile application programming interfaces (APIs), providing developers with optimal tools for incorporating mobility in their applications and fueling worldwide growth of mobile services and third-party software innovation.

The allied companies stress that they recognize creating applications for the mobile context poses unique challenges to developers. They contend that widely used and best-in-class user interface implementations can reduce development and deployment costs, while opening up access to a new and larger customer base. Developers, they say, will be able to address both Web and mobile customers with the same underlying application design and maintain superior usability in both environments.

One target of this joint work is to hide the infrastructure complexity and leverage the unique characteristics of mobile networks, such as presence, location awareness, and mobile authentication. Ultimately, this is expected to bring greater choice of services for consumers and corporations in a non-fragmented platform environment.

New products and solutions combining the mobile domain with the Web will be based on open mobile architecture enablers, such as Java and other 3GPP compliant technologies likes WAP2.0/XHTML, MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), and SyncML.

In order to facilitate the specification process in the J2EE API technology domain, the companies have agreed to jointly prepare the specification proposals prior to submitting them to the Java Community Process. Somehow the idea of Microsoft participating in the JCP is about as likely as hens entering a restaurant and ordering chicken soup.

But clearly MS remains theoretically welcome to join OMA any time. It can just call Nokia next year, on any of those 50 million Java-enabled phones!

About Jeremy Geelan
Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

The last time I wrote something hear was when you announced that XP doesn't support Java anymore. I saisd so what just don't code for them anymore.

Wise desicion - this.




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