Sun Microsystems is close to announcing an effort designed to preload its Java software on more PCs across the world.
The Santa Clara, Calif., computer maker is expected to announce on May 16 at its JavaOne conference a streamlined process for licensing of its Java Platform, Standard Edition or Java SE to PC makers.
The new licensing mechanism, one person familiar with the plan said, is designed to encourage more PC makers—particularly those in so-called emerging markets—to add Java SE to their Windows-based machines at the factory.
The result Sun is shooting for is to have more PCs running the latest Java applications—which range from online shopping carts and brochures to entertainment applications to productivity tools—right out of the box.
For Sun, which has been under pressure to open-source Java, the program could help extend the reach of Java SE.
Several brand-name PC makers, including Dell and Hewlett-Packard, already preinstall Java SE on many of their PCs. Together, Dell and HP shipped about 18 million units in the first quarter of 2006, according to IDC data.
Thus, second- and third-tier manufacturers, which are the main targets of the new licensing program, represent a much larger portion of the market.
Although they shipped 18 million units, the market totaled about 53 million units, according to IDC. That means another 35 million machines went out from other vendors, many of whom do not preinstall Java SE.
Therefore, Sun is likely to argue that the Java SE licensing program will also benefit Java and the developers who use it by spreading out the platform to many more users.
The program also has the potential to benefit consumers and Web site administrators by ensuring that PCs are more likely to have up-to-date versions of Java installed.
Suns work to simplify Java SE licensing to PC makers for preinstalling on PCs will include launching an online application, which the manufacturers can fill out and gain fast approval, the person familiar with its plans said.
Once that approval has been gained, Sun is expected to say, the PC makers will be able to distribute Java SE on their systems and will also be granted access to co-branding and co-marketing opportunities with Sun in addition to technical support and alerts and updates from the computer maker.
Sun declined to comment for this story.
Editors Note: Chris Preimesberger provided additional reporting for this story.