Hewlett Packard has thrown the control of Java into question with the licensing fees. announcement that it is moving back into software development with its own Java Virtual Machine (JVM).
Joe Beyers, general manager of HP's internet software business unit, said the supplier took the decision to market its own JVM, an operating system that runs Java applications, because of the 'excessive licensing fees' that Sun was demanding for a consumer electronics version of Java.
HP initially fell out with Sun last year when it unsuccessfully tried to oppose the decision by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) to make Sun the official arbiter of Java.
According to US reports, HP is still intent on forcing Sun to relinguish control of the development language to an independent industry body.
HP insisted the current development was specifically aimed at the embedded systems market and would not affect the company's Unix business in which the company will continue to license Java from Sun.
HP will, however, make its version of Java as widely available as possible for use by select companies developing consumer devices.
And according to Beyers, because the company has no licence with Sun for a consumer version of Java, it has no obligation to pay royalties.
Sun responded by saying that HP's action was a publicity stunt aimed at winning more favourable licensing terms from Sun and evidence of the importance of Java to the industry.
It also dismissed HP's JVM as a substandard clone of genuine Java technology.
The company also claimed that HP would have little success signing up licensees because of industry concern that this would create the kind of rival-product camps that Java was designed to avoid.
Sun and Microsoft are currently locked in a legal skirmish over Java.
In a lawsuit filed last October, Sun accused the software giant of using Java in a way that compromises its platform independence, thereby violating the licensing contract.
The move comes at the same time as Hewlett Packard has licensed the Windows CE operating system technology from Microsoft for incorporation in its handheld machines.
Today saw 14 of the UK IT channel's biggest hitters come together to determine the winners of CRN's WiC awards. But what does being a WiC judge actually involve? Doug Woodburn reports
'Smaller firms may struggle to keep up with Microsoft's innovation with Dynamics' says CEO Stuart Fenton after acquiring assets from Profile Enterprise Solutions
Pete Peterson admits the firm hasn't always been the 'easiest company to do business with'
New chief exec Aaron Painter says 'longer-term strategy' could see firm tackle the Asian market