Vivek Haldar

Blue Java

(Follow-on to the last post)

There’s another interesting reason for using a specific language, but it becomes a factor very rarely – indirect competition. This is when company chooses and promotes a language primarily to beat back a competitor.

This happened in the 90s when IBM decided to throw all its weight behind Java. Microsoft was ascendant, and so was its developer stack. IBM was terrified that it would end up in a position where it would have to use (and license!!) Microsoft’s languages and compilers, and be shackled by the APIs of Redmond.

Along came Java, that too from a company whose CEO at the time was a sworn enemy of Redmond. It was a godsend for IBM. It made a strategic decision to throw all its weight behind Java.

Java’s rise, particularly inside the enterprise, had a lot to do with Big Blue backing it over the next decade.