Netscape Communications, which had once "embraced" Java with its plans to create a Java version of Navigator and build its own Java Virtual Machine (JVM) is quickly retreating from the Java space because of the language's glaring weaknesses as a client-side platform. This week, the company officially jettisoned plans to create its own JVM.

"Java on the client \[just\] doesn't work, and we at Netscape have done an about-turn on client-side Java in recent months," said Marc Andreessen, Netscape's VP of products, this week. "But on the server side, Java is taking off quite quickly."

With the quick retreat of Netscape from the "Pure Java" camp, Sun and partner IBM will have to pick up the slack if they still wish to keep the Java mindshare game going. Sun is working on a browser plug-in called the "Activator" that allows Java applications to run identically on Netscape's Communicator/Navigator and Microsoft's Internet Explorer