Lotus Development president and CEO Jeff Papows urged the industry not to "screw up" the opportunity to unify IT behind Java, and admitted Lotus 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 per cent pure Java standard."
At the opening day keynote speech at Comdex Spring, Papows admitted that 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 is 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 pure Java standard, which should allow customers to run software on any operating system, because it is too slow. Papows said he met Intel and Apple executives last week and most processor manufacturers are optimising chips to make the Java Virtual Machine perform fast enough for customers? needs.
The rest of Papows? speech covered the impact of the Internet. IDC estimates say electronic commerce will be worth $160 billion in 2000 but just $10 billion of that will be spent by consumers. "Business to business electronic commerce is the killer app," Papows said, although he believes traditional channels of distribution will still survive because social interaction and business links will ensure it.
Huge productivity gains are possible using the Internet as long as businesses do not buy "technology for technology?s sake", according to Papows.
Just 70,000 attendees are expected at Comdex Spring, compared to sources? estimates of 105,000 last year. Facing competition from Networld + Interop two weeks before and PC Expo two w eeks after, Comdex Spring is moving to Chicago next year in a bid to draw more people to a bigger venue.
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