Microsoft and Sun have extended an agreement to provide support for Java Virtual Machine software until the end of September 2004.
Microsoft had been planning to phase out Java support in January as part of a 2001 legal settlement about alleged misuse of Sun's developer language.
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Chris Jones, vice-president of Microsoft's Windows client division, said, "This agreement is in direct response to our customers' request for more time to manage the transition and to their need for continued support of the Microsoft JVM."
"Industry-wide replacement of Microsoft's JVM may be a significant undertaking," said Rich Green, vice-president of Sun's developer platforms group. "This agreement gives customers more time to make the transition, with the assurance Microsoft will continue to repair critical concerns while the transition is under way."
Microsoft has been urging customers to switch to the .net platform and the C# programming language, with Sun suggesting users move onto newer versions of Java.
But Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler warned that it would be impossible for large firms to settle on a single development platform for all new applications. Despite pressure from Sun and Microsoft, large organisations need to maintain skills in both platforms, he said.