This morning, Microsoft announced its Application Foundation Classes (AFC) for Java, and announced a new version of its Java Virtual Machine (JVM) for Windows, due with its Internet Explorer 4.0 browser that is expected in mid-1997. The AFC provides Java programmers with a palette of user interface widgets, graphics, and multimedia functions. Microsoft is positioning the AFC against Sun's much-maligned Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT), which provides only basic widget and graphic functionality. According to Microsoft, AFC is faster than AWT and requires less memory while adhering to the AWT programming model. The ASP will appear with the first beta of Internet Explorer 4.0, now due in mid-February. Microsoft's upcoming Java Virtual Machine will provide interoperability between ActiveX and the JavaBeans component model