Lotus president and CEO Jeff Papows urged the industry not to "screw up" the opportunity to unify IT behind Java, and said the company will slim its fat applications using Java applets.
The Java standard is not part of the battles between PCs and NCs or Pentium and Risc, Papows said. "Java is the renaissance in the applications industry, our chance. If we do screw up this opportunity, in the way we screwed up Unix, we're going to be enormous losers. You must demand that vendors use the 100% pure Java standard."
At the opening keynote speech at Comdex Spring, Papows admitted the software packages that have dominated the market since the mid-eighties are counter-productive because they have become too big for most customers' uses, despite acknowledging that Lotus has a multi-million dollar business based on those packages.
"I'm not saying the suite market will go away," Papows said. "But now there are so many bells and whistles that they put a strain on the network when most of us only need a fraction of the features in the application.
That's why we're including Java applets or components to deal with it later this year. There are big changes on the horizon."
He pledged Lotus' allegiance to the Java standard endorsed by its parent IBM and said Java was a lasting technology which is "absolutely critical" to the IT industry, twice quoting Sun Microsystems' CEO Scott McNealy.
Developers have been hesitant to adopt the 100% pure Java standard, which should allow customers to run software on any operating system, because it is too slow.
Papows recently met with Intel and Apple executives and said most processor manufacturers are optimising chips to make the Java Virtual Machine perform fast enough for customers' needs.
Comdex Spring attracted just 70,000 attendees, compared to around 105,000 last year. Facing competition from Networld + Interop two weeks before and PC Expo two weeks after, Comdex Spring is moving to Chicago next year in a bid to draw more people to a bigger venue.
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