December 12, 1996 6:30 PM ET

Microsoft exec traces Web odyssey, reaffirms stand on Java
By Margaret Kane

  NEW YORK—One year ago, "the Internet exploded all around us," said Bob Muglia, vice president of the Internet Platform and Tools division at Microsoft Corp. The company wasn't looking, and it nearly got hit by the shrapnel.

But at a keynote speech here today at Internet World, Muglia described how the company has embraced the Internet and demonstrated products that take advantage of it.

Muglia began by stressing that Microsoft is committed to developing in Java, despite a recent flap over Sun Microsystems Inc.'s "100% Pure Java" campaign to ensure a single standard for the language. Microsoft was pointedly absent Wednesday from the list of developers who have agreed to support the initiative, although whether it was intentional is being disputed.

"Microsoft is 100 percent committed today, tomorrow and in the future to all applications of Java that developers want to run," Muglia said. "It doesn't matter if it's '100% Pure Java' or something optimized for [Windows]."

But Microsoft also wants to ensure that the developers can optimize their applications for Windows, even if it means using a different flavor of Java.

"The core message is computability, absolutely. Choice, you betcha," he said.

Muglia devoted most of his speech to showing how far Microsoft had traveled since its Dec. 7, 1995 Internet strategy announcement. He ran through demonstrations of Microsoft's Exchange Server and Transaction Server, showing how a company could update World Wide Web sites on the fly and conduct business via the Internet.

Using the Visual InterDev development system and J++, Muglia and his assistants demonstrated how a user could create a Web site.

On the client side, Muglia and his assistants showed off the Active Desktop and Internet Explorer 4, scheduled for release next year. These products, which also were shown at Microsoft's PointCast announcement yesterday, integrate the Internet with the desktop. For example, users can switch between viewing a Web site, an Excel spreadsheet, a Word document and the hard drive all within the same window.

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