Microsoft claims that dropping the Java virtual machine from Windows XP does not mean that it is phasing out Java support.
Java is used on websites to allow developers to write applications which run on different computers regardless of the operating system.
Sun Microsystems sued Microsoft in 1998 because the latter created a Windows-only version of Java.
The US Court of Appeals labelled as illegal Microsoft's efforts to persuade software vendors to use only the Windows-compatible version of Java.
The case was settled for $20m earlier this year, with Microsoft allowed to distribute products carrying version 1.1.4 of Java for seven years. The product is now at version 2.1.
Richard Hamblen, .Net development marketing manager at Microsoft UK, said: "Our agreement with Sun restricts us to version 1.1.4 of the Java virtual machine, and the market has moved on."
Hamblen added that the Java language would be still be supported through the .Net framework, and that Microsoft would do so for the latest version of Visual Studio.
The decision to drop Java virtual machine from the operating system means that first-time visitors to websites using Java will now be asked whether they want to download Microsoft's version of Java virtual machine, or use an alternative.
"If anything, this decision is more positive for Java, as it extends customer choice of which virtual machine they use from our 1.1.4 implementation, which is old, to later versions from third parties," said Hamblen.
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