I have some extraordinary news to share.
As of late this evening, Sun will have shipped its 100,000,000th JavaFX runtime. Congratulations, folks! From a standing start in early December last year, JavaFX’s download rate makes it the fastest growing RIA platform on the market – demonstrating the fastest adoption of any product Sun has ever shipped.
The 100,000,000 milestone was reached just in time for us to announce the second phase of our JavaFX strategy, the release of JavaFX Mobile at next week’s Mobile World Congress. JavaFX Mobile is a runtime identical to JavaFX Desktop, but preconfigured for gizmos with very small memory footprints (like mobile phones). With our newest partners, from Sony Ericsson to LG Electronics (and more adding every day), this should add a massive breadth of mobile runtimes to the converged JavaFX count – and create even more opportunity for Java developers.
Why such a fast uptake? The Java platform continues to provide the world’s most complete open source platform for a rich internet – supported by the world’s largest developer community. JavaFX allows Sun to reach beyond our traditional base to creative professionals and non-coders working with audio, video and high performance graphics. And most importantly – JavaFX allows content owners to bypass potentially hostile browsers, to install applications directly on user desktops and phones. You’ll see that phenomenon heat up in 2009, accelerated by the emergence of “AppStores” on every device connected to the internet.
What’s our view of the overall marketplace? Here are a few thoughts.
First, freely distributed, open source software will continue to create enormous revenue opportunities for those that understand the underlying business model – as an example, the Java business for Sun, last quarter, delivered more than $67m in billings, up nearly 50% year over year. On an annualized basis, that means the Java client business (as distinct from the Java server business) is now a multi-hundred million dollar business, opening doors for Sun, and the Java community, across the planet. All built on freely available runtimes and source code. Free as in beer, free as in speech, and free as in market.
Second, devices are becoming functionally equivalent – what you can do with Flash is comparable to Silverlight, and again comparable to JavaFX. We each have our specialty, but over the long haul, my view is adoption rates and business models will be a greater driver of success than the technologies themselves. Why? Because if you’re Amazon building the extraordinary Kindle 2, it matters that Sun won’t put its business model between you and your customers – you want the technology you select to enable your business, not your supplier’s, while enabling access to the world’s largest developer community. (That said, must you use JavaFX or Flash or Silverlight to be a part of the rich internet future? Well, no – Apple used Objective-C for the iPhone, after all, completely discrediting the purist notion that if the app isn’t written with a web scripting language, it isn’t fashion forward).
Finally, the consumer electronics market is going to be infinitely more vibrant and competitive than the relatively stagnant personal computer market. Having just seen a host of new Java devices, from automobile dashboards and BluRay DVD players, to set top boxes, picture frames, VOIP phones and new consumer electronics… the economy might be cooling down, but the RIA market is definitely heating up.
The Java platform is only growing in importance and value, across billions of devices. At Sun, we’re planning on maintaining Java’s ubiquity as the number one runtime environment, backed by the world’s most price performant datacenter infrastructure, all powered by Sun’s cloud. After all, the network is the computer.
So again, congratulations to the team – and the Java community! Now, on to the next 100,000,000! (For those interested, download JavaFX SDK here.)