Microsoft Corporation has quietly dropped plans to support Java applets in its line of WebTV set-top boxes that allows users to access the Internet via their TV sets. While some people may see this as a problem, its debatable whether Java support is important on the Web anymore. Java applets are slow and buggy across different browser versions.

"It's not that we don't think it's useful, it's just that we have limited resources in terms of development and computing power," said Steve Perlman, the cofounder and president of WebTV.

Java support would require a lot more memory than WebTV boxes currently use and that would raise the price of the units, which cater to budget-conscious consumers. Perlman says the decision has nothing to do with the much-publicized fight between Java's creator Sun Microsystems and Web TV's parent company, Microsoft. In fact, Perlman blames Sun for not being able to create a version of Java small enough to run on WebTV. The smallest version of Java, called Personal Java, requires twice as much RAM as WebTV has