I'm not sure why Apple has suddenly decided to make the future support of Mac Java uncertain (see "Mac Java deprecated; Did Apple just kill Mac Java?", and "Mac Java is deprecated: What it means"), but if I'm a CIO or CTO working at a company that has invested any money at all in Java development, Apple just sent a very clear message:
Don't buy any more Mac computers in the enterprise.
Normally I expect Microsoft to share FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) messages about competitors, but in this case Apple has created FUD about their own products, which makes little business sense.
As far as I can tell, Apple's entire focus these days is on consumers, and Apple is not interested in the corporate enterprise (which I just realized when writing an article about Microsoft's Azure Java support). Suddenly Microsoft is the good guy in the Java camp, and Apple is clearly seen as not supporting the your enterprise Java efforts.
Why CIOs shouldn't buy Macs
As a CIO/CTO, if your company uses Java at all (server-side or client-side), Apple's lack of information on their future Mac Java support -- other than it is "deprecated" -- has to be very unsettling. Think about it:
- If your company ships Java/Swing client applications, Apple just said your Mac Java application may not work on future Macs.
- If your developers write any Java code on Macs, how exactly are they going to develop their Java applications without a JDK/SDK on future Macs?
There are a lot of discussions about open source projects like SoyLatte and OpenJDK suddenly needing to become viable, but I know that people on Apple's Mac Java mailing list have referred to these projects as being in a "proof of concept" stage, at best. There is no open source project ready to immediately provide Mac Java support, and there also hasn't been any indication from Oracle (the new owners of Java) as to whether they will provide a Mac Java SDK/JDK.
A quote from a PC/Mac buyer
Lest you think this Mac Java deprecation issue (and Apple's silence) isn't important, consider this comment which was just posted on the Mac Java-dev mailing list by a PC/Mac buyer for a university:
"We have to buy labs of PC (Windows / MacOS X / Linux) to last for a certain length of time. We need to run Java on them AND get current OS security updates. If either is available for less time than the planned life of the lab, we wont be buying the OS involved (and hence Macs, if it is MacOS X). If we don't know how long this will be, we will also be obliged to take the safer option, and not buy Macs."
Again, if you're a CIO, you don't want to buy Macs for your company, only to learn you can never upgrade them to Mac OS X 10.7 or higher, because those versions won't support Java. Knowingly putting your organization in a position like that is a potential cause for dismissal.
Apple to CIOs: Don't buy Macs
In summary, (1) Apple just made the future of the Mac Java platform very uncertain, and as a result, (2) a CIO whose organization uses Java needs to look at this decision, and (3) make Macs a "No buy" platform until this issue is resolved. If your organization depends on Java, Macs are no longer a safe buy.