Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, surprised the Java One conference when he made an appearance on stage with Sun Microsystem’s CEO, Scott McNealy, yesterday. McNealy introduced Jobs as one of his "personal heroes".

The two men then were joined onstage by Shoichiro Irimajiri, vice chairman of Sega. Jobs announced that Apple was now: "Totally committed to Sun’s Java technology." Apple intends bundling Java 2 platform, Standard Edition (J2SE) with every copy of Mac OS X, due out late this year, though not due in the UK till early 2001.

"We will offer the best Java platform on the planet right out of the box," Jobs said.

Java jokers Both Jobs and Sun's McNealy also admitted that the two companies hadn't worked closely together in the past.

"That's your fault," quipped McNealy.

"You were busy putting Java into light bulbs," Jobs replied.

"I know some of you (in the audience) have not been thrilled with Java on the Mac," Jobs said. "We've finally figured out how to work with each other."

Mac OS X loves Java Apple's senior vice president of software engineering Avie Tevanian then joined them on stage to give a demonstration of Java 2 on Mac OS X Developer Release 4 (DP4 using WebObjects.

Sega’s Irimajiri announced that Sega's Dreamcast console will be running Java. In September, in version 3 of Dreamcast, Sega will release a Web browser that is currently under development by Planetweb. The browser uses Sun's Personal Java, which will facilitate the playing of multiplayer games, Irimajiri added.

The Sega vice chairman also referred to Monday’s announcement with Motorola concerning offering games on cellular phones. "We have already developed 10 games for the cell phone and will launch them next year," Irimajiri said. "You'll have Sonic gameplay on cell phones."

Millions for billions McNealy spent the bulk of his speech re-emphasizing Java's strengths and providing some statistics on usage of the technology. Citing figures from market research company, International Data Corp. (IDC), he said there are currently more than 2.5 million Java developers, and that number is expected to rise to 4 million by 2003. There were 20 million Java smart cards shipped last year, with 100 million due this year and 250 million the year after, he added.