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Money from Java

Money from Java

Ka-Ching! That's the sound of Sun's cash registers ringing every time a cellular phone, pager, set-top cable box or host of other electronics equipment is sold. Java is an excellent enterprise software platform. It is the first real competition to the Wintel dynasty in over ten years, but Java is about much more than enterprise software development. In fact, Java is about only enterprise software development as much as a Corvette is about a Sunday afternoon drive.

Embedded Java is a term used to represent a Java Virtual Machine that is stored permanently in silicon. The Virtual Machine is a machine instruction processing unit not so different from the Intel Pentiums that run many of today's PCs. Yet, this Virtual Machine was developed for embedding in microprocessors that would go into consumer electronics equipment. These embedded Java VMs come as chips that will be used in everything from smart cards to your automobile. Don't get the wrong impression; embedded microprocessors have been used for years in electronics equipment, but this is the first standardized machine instruction set that will be used consistently. The reason for this popularity is two-fold:
1. Due to its architecture, Java Virtual Machines can produce extremely high performance.
2. There is a fast growing base of development resources that will be able to develop software for it.

Today, extremely technical C and Assembler programming language gurus develop embedded applications with the knowledge that they will be stored in chips. This requires the ability to optimize the code through both programming and compilers. However, with a high-performance Java chip installed in the device, any Java programmer can develop the same application at a lower cost.

The number of specialized chips developed every year for embedding into electronic devices far exceeds the number of desktops sold over a ten year period. Now, imagine that JavaSoft gets just $.20 for each device that has a Java Virtual Machine embedded inside of it. Add to that price the cost of the electronics equipment that uses Sun's own Java chips. While this price is only speculative for purposes of visualization (Sun has released no pricing information for this type of license yet), the income from this venture alone is staggering.

We've already mentioned consumer electronics as one outlet that will generate tremendous income from per unit sales; another is manufacturing. Manufacturing is an interesting opportunity for income from Java licenses. Nothing would be more beneficial to this industry than being able to have a single development environment for modeling, simulation and assembly. Indeed, no group has struggled more to have a common representation that could be used for all aspects of manufacturing. Java is the first opportunity to possibly achieve this goal since the adoption of STEP, a standard representation of manufacturing-based data. If Java were adopted for this goal, it would require Virtual Machines inside of every single Computer-Aided Design (CAD) application down to inside of every piece of specialized shop floor equipment. Sun would receive income from every license for every Java Virtual Machine inside of this environment.

If, after reading this editorial, you're still unsure why Sun has spent millions developing and pushing an "open" Virtual Machine platform, consider this: Andrew Carnegie made his fortune by owning railroads and the steel to build the trains and the tracks, along with the early telecommunications system to send messages between stations. Sun's product offerings are as cohesive as Andrew Carnegie's. They have an excellent hardware and software offering for enterprise computing. And they own the chips that go in the machines. And they own the patent on the Virtual Machine running inside each of those chips. And it all comes back to Java!

Note: A copy of this editorial was sent to Sun Microsystems for their comments. At press time, none had been received

More Stories By JP Morgenthal

JP Morgenthal is a veteran IT solutions executive and Distinguished Engineer with CSC. He has been delivering IT services to business leaders for the past 30 years and is a recognized thought-leader in applying emerging technology for business growth and innovation. JP's strengths center around transformation and modernization leveraging next generation platforms and technologies. He has held technical executive roles in multiple businesses including: CTO, Chief Architect and Founder/CEO. Areas of expertise for JP include strategy, architecture, application development, infrastructure and operations, cloud computing, DevOps, and integration. JP is a published author with four trade publications with his most recent being “Cloud Computing: Assessing the Risks”. JP holds both a Masters and Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from Hofstra University.

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