I was flipping through magazines at Barnes and Nobles and found a reference to an old blog post
He basically says that that Jim Fawcette wrote about Sun and their blunders with Java.Sun created the initiative for C# and the .NET Framework when they sued Microsoft for trying to put extensions in their Java implementation, J++. Otherwise Microsoft was on the path to making Java the de facto standard for development on Windows.
"The Microsoft language team—then under Dennis Gilbert, who negotiated the contract with Sun—was prepared to fully commit to Java as Microsoft's language for development on what was later named .NET. Microsoft would have made Java its main language and competed with IBM and Sun on its framework implementation, according to contacts at Microsoft then and now. Visual Basic would likely have continued, given its installed base, but it would've been marginalized and C# never would've appeared."
I always thought that Sun's major blunder was that they didn't put a full effort behind the development tools/platforms in Java. By doing so they essentially opened the door for Sun, BEA, and all the other companies that produce duplicate facilities for Java, hence fragmenting the market. My thought isn't really original; Cringely alluded to it back in 2001:
"Sun should have maintained its technological lead, but didn't. Why not? Don't they understand that Microsoft is like the Terminator (as depicted in the original film, the really scary one) and will never give up? .NET, whatever that is, is perceived in Redmond as the future of Microsoft, and C# is the heart of .NET. Microsoft will spend whatever it takes, take as many revs as the market requires, for C# to become the dominant programming language in the world. What other high tech company can be described as being willing to behave that way right now? Would Apple, Sun, Oracle, even IBM spend WHATEVER IT TAKES to accomplish ANYTHING?
No, they wouldn't, and that's why they are going to lose, dang it. Microsoft will lie, cheat, steal, or maybe just work very, very hard—whatever it takes. That's the most intimidating realization of all for competitors."
Well, enough beating up on Java. I still think that it was better technology for its time frame. But it wasn't automated, augmented, and unified.
Oh, and if anyone hires me for a J2EE project, who knows, I may change my mind...