Oracle CEO wants more Java on netbooks, devices

SAN FRANCISCO/BOSTON (Reuters) - Oracle Corp Chief Executive Larry Ellison, whose company sells software to big corporations, is looking to extend his footprint to inexpensive laptops and other electronics gadgets.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison delivers his keynote address at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco, California September 24, 2008. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Ellison said on Tuesday that he wants to boost use of Java software on so-called netbook computers and other devices after his company completes its planned $7 billion purchase of computer maker Sun Microsystems Inc, which controls Java.

“You’ll see us get very aggressive with Java, and developing Java apps for things like telephones and netbooks,” he told programmers attending a Java users conference in San Francisco. “There will be computers that are fundamentally based on Java.”

He called on the group of programmers to develop applications for netbooks and mobile phones using JavaFX, a new version of the widely used programing language designed to deliver applications over the Internet.

Java’s claim to fame is that it allows developers to write one set of code that will run on multiple operating systems -- including Microsoft Corp’s Windows, Apple Inc’s Macintosh OS and Linux.

The netbook phenomenon took off in 2008 with the sale of 11.7 million units, led by companies such as Acer and Asustek Computer Inc that were quick into the market. Nearly every PC maker offers the laptops, which are small enough to fit into a purse and cost as little as $200.

Analysts forecast 20 million to 30 million netbooks will be sold this year, making up an ever larger part of overall laptop sales and marking one of few tech sectors still experiencing robust revenue growth.

Although netbooks are relatively new, it is an area in which Ellison has shown past interest.

More then a decade ago he introduced a lightweight alternative to the PC known as the Network Computer, which was built primarily to connect to the Internet. The machines, which competed with ones running on Windows operating system, failed to take off after their launch in 1996.

Shares in Redwood City, California-based Oracle rose 2 percent to $20.35.

Editing by Derek Caney, Gerald E. McCormick and Steve Orlofsky