Sun and Microsoft have settled their long-standing dispute over Java and access to Microsoft-specifc technologies.
Through the agreement, which will see Microsoft pay Sun $700m (£490m) to resolve all pending antitrust issues and $900m (£380m) to resolve all patent issues, Java support on Internet Explorer is guaranteed.
Moreover, Sun and Microsoft have agreed to work together to make their rival web services architectures work together.
Up until now, Microsoft has all but abandoned Java support, due to the on-going legal dispute with Sun. It even introduced C# as a rival language to Java. The agreement should give users some reassurance that Microsoft's Java virtual machine will continue to be supported. Whether Microsoft will develop the technology further remains to be seen.
Scott McNealy, chairman and chief executive officer at Sun Microsystems, said, "[The agreement] will stimulate new products, delivering great new choices for customers who want to combine server products from multiple suppliers and achieve seamless computing in a heterogeneous computing environment."
Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft ,said, "The real winners are the customers and developers who rely on our products and innovations."
Along with Java, the two companies said they will provide access to aspects of each other's server-based technology. Sun and Microsoft are expect to collaborate initially on Windows Server and Windows Client support.
But the companies said they would initially co-operate to allow identity information to be shared between Microsoft Active Directory and the Sun Java System Identity Server, resulting in what they claim will be a less complex and more secure computing environment.
Sun also said it would join Microsoft's Communications Protocol Program and announced it had obtained Windows certification for its Xeon servers.
In a separate announcement, Sun said it has promoted software head Jonathan Schwartz to president and chief operating officer.