Tools suite Jump to .net adds Java support to the company's .net Web services strategy. Microsoft said the technology will give users a number of paths for migrating their Java language investments to the .net platform.
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Skills in Java are currently the most sought-after in the UK as businesses struggle to build e-business applications using the language.
Phil Cross, developer marketing manager at Microsoft, said, "Any Java developer can use Jump to .net to take existing Java code and make it work on the .net platform."
The technology is primarily aimed at developers using Visual J++, the Microsoft Java tool at the centre of Sun's licensing dispute.
Cross said Java developers would be able to use Jump to .net to take existing Java applications and convert them to Web services compatible with .net. He said Microsoft would also provide a tool to convert Java source code to C#, the company's rival programming language.
Simon Moores, chairman of user association Microsoft Forums, was stunned at Microsoft's about-face. "It is remarkable. Java used to be the anti-christ at Microsoft 18 months ago. It illustrates how far Microsoft is prepared to go to re-engineer products to support .net."
He said Microsoft's main thrust was in developing .net services. "It is embracing open standards like XML and now it is supporting Java."
In a briefing paper, US analyst group Gartner advised Microsoft users who were committed to mainstream Java development to look for alternative non-Microsoft tools.