Sun Says No to Online Advertising

Despite enabling the technology, the company turns its back on the highly coveted space.

SAN FRANCISCO-Despite creating new technology to enable developers to essentially inject advertising into applications they develop, Sun Microsystems officials say they have no interest in getting into the online advertising game.

At the JavaOne conference here, Sun announced Project Insight, an effort to enable developers to "instrument" their applications in such a way that they can glean information about who is using the applications and how they are used. Another part of the Project Insight technology is the ability for developers to inject advertising into applications to enable developers to further monetize their efforts, company officials said.

However, Sun has no interest itself in getting into the online advertising game dominated by Google and coveted by Microsoft and others, despite the potential windfall in revenue.

Rich Green, Sun's executive vice president of software, told eWEEK the Project Insight technology certainly could set Sun up to participate in the online advertising arena in some fashion, but it is not a goal. For one, the market is no easy pickings-witness Microsoft's failed bid for Yahoo.

Bob Brewin, Sun's chief technology officer for software, agreed.

"We're not interested in that," Brewin told eWEEK. "But this notion of enabling our developers to do it is huge and it is likely to increase the attraction of Sun technologies for developers. For us, it's really about one of our core values and that's about enabling developers."

Brewin said Project Insight is one of the "three big things" at JavaOne this year. The other two are Sun's deal with On2 to deliver a codec for delivering animation and video to consumers, and Sun delivering on the JavaFX RIA (rich Internet application) technology it announced last year.

He also addressed the oft-asked question of whether Java the language was dead.

"The question that comes up is, -Is Java relevant,?'" he said. "But I rarely run into -Is Java dead?' on the business side. Java is entrenched in the enterprise, and when folks are trying to take their intranet and expose things to the world, that's when they start to look at things like [Adobe's] Flash and [Microsoft's] Silverlight and hopefully JavaFX. Given that we're talking about enterprises that have Java already, I think that gives us an edge, providing we deliver."