12/11/96 -- 11:43 PM


NEW YORK (AP) - Taking aim at rival Microsoft Corp. in the contest for Internet software business, Sun Microsystems Inc. has drawn more than 100 companies to its popular Java programming language.

Sun's Java language is attracting followers because it lets programmers write a single version of software that will run on any computer system - threatening the dominance of Microsoft's Windows operating system.

Microsoft licenses Java from Sun, but the software titan created specialized versions aimed at making Java software work better on its Windows system, which runs 90 percent of all personal computers.

Sun Microsystems announced Wednesday the software alliance as it unveiled a new logo intended to help keep the group's members focused on creating applications based on ``100 Percent Pure Java.''

Sun said the 100 companies, including IBM, Apple and Netscape Communications, agreed to write new types of Internet software based on a common set of technical specifications to ensure their applications run on all operating systems. Microsoft was conspicuously absent from the high-tech companies in the alliance.

``What we're saying today is we're putting the pieces together,'' said Alan Baratz, president of Sun's JavaSoft division.

Sun, a Mountain View, Calif.-based company that also makes powerful business computers, debuted its software campaign at the Internet World exposition in New York City.

The Java language already is being used to create software for the World Wide Web and many software companies are introducing Java versions of their products.

While Windows runs 90 percent of personal computers, many workplace machines such as those made by Sun and IBM use other operating systems.

IBM chairman and chief executive Louis Gerstner, during the conference's keynote address Wednesday, enthusiastically backed the Java program.

``Everyone in our industry is excited about Java and working like mad to get it ready for prime time,'' he said.

Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.