Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer was unusually effusive in his praise for Java at the company's Professional Developers Conference, and has outlined new support for the platform in Azure.
Microsoft has traditionally had an antagonistic relationship with the open source community. Many suspect ulterior motives, so V3.co.uk asked analysts and commentators for their insights into the move.
One of the main issues is that Microsoft is losing business by not supporting Java, according to Jeffrey Hammond, principal analyst at Forrester Research.
"Particularly in large enterprises most of the work is done in .Net and Java. If you want a competing solution in the cloud you need to support both," he said.
"We told Microsoft that a year ago, and the new moves make Azure a lot more appealing as a solution."
However, Hammond acknowledged that Microsoft won't be hurt by the move on the development side either, as a lot of developers in Java are distinctly unhappy with the direction taken by new management.
Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, suggested that Microsoft's own open source efforts have changed the company's perception from the great evil that needed to be killed, to something "more like a suspicious neighbour".
"Given that Oracle is increasingly looking like Attila the Hun, Microsoft may appear the lesser of two evils," he said.
"I think this is not only an attempt to steal the developer community, which is getting really upset with Oracle, but to shift the emphasis for Java away from Oracle altogether.
"It should be noted, however, that to be successful Oracle would have to do most of the heavy lifting. Ironically that appears to be exactly what is happening."
Enderle believes that many Java developers are now looking at new areas, citing the blistering resignation blog post of Doug Lea from the Java Community Process.
The end result, according to Enderle, could be a boost to both parties and the developer community as a whole.
Florian Mueller, founder of the No Software Patents campaign, added: "I don't think this is a zero-sum game between Microsoft and Oracle.
"Both companies, and especially the software developer community, stand to gain from such openness and interoperability."
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