24 June 2009

Inventors of Java on Mobile receive Meffys Outstanding Contribution Award

MEF has awarded this year’s prestigious Meffys Outstanding Contribution award to Dr Antero Taivalsaari, Principal Investigator, Sun Microsystems Laboratories and Mark VandenBrink, Motorola Fellow & VP, the duo who laid the foundations for today’s thriving mobile applications business.

The winners were announced as part of the sold-out Meffys Gala Awards dinner held in London last night. The Outstanding Contribution award acknowledges the industry’s unsung heroes whose achievements have made a significant impact on today’s US$32 billion mobile entertainment industry.

Mobile applications have been the success story of the year. The critical contribution in developing the mobile version of Java paved the way for mobile application developers to create the first generation of downloadable content. The creation of Java for mobile devices was a huge achievement, combining a technology breakthrough with an ambitious vision and, perhaps most challenging of all, winning the support of the entire industry.

In 1997, Dr Antero Taivalsaari joined Sun Labs and within the space of a year had developed the foundation for J2ME, the technology bedrock of the applications business. He subsequently met with Mark VandenBrink of Motorola, who was so captivated by the potential of this technology for mobile devices that he drove its industry adoption. Mark persuaded Motorola to commit to Java and Sun to license it, and subsequently persuaded 26 other handset manufacturers, including Nokia and Ericsson, to commit to Java and to agree on the standardisation of the Java mobile device user profile.

Over the past decade, more than 2.5 billion handsets have been shipped with Java support, under every brand and in every region of the world.

Andrew Bud, the newly re-elected Global Chair of MEF, commented: “On the tenth anniversary of Java on mobile, I am delighted that we have recognised the men who founded this multi-billion dollar revolution, of which today’s Apps Stores are the heirs. Dr. Antero Taivalsaari of Sun, as inventor of the KVM and creator of J2ME, and Mark VandenBrink of Motorola, as the successful prophet of an idea and creator of MIDP, are worthy recipients of this year’s Meffys Outstanding Contribution Award.”

Antero attended the awards and acknowledged the team members who had helped make Java on mobile a reality:“Working in Silicon Valley to develop the J2ME platform was one of the most exciting periods of my professional career. Right from the start, there were so many talented people involved in this project, including Mark. The success of the technology has surpassed all our original expectations, and I am both humbled and proud of the contribution that it has made to the industry.”

Mark, who was not able to attend in person, said: “Back in the late 1990s, when Antero and I first met, we had no idea that a chance meeting over lunch in Cupertino would result in the first cross-platform application environment in the mobile industry. Ten years later, what once invoked incredulity is considered commonplace - now mobile phones are selected, at least in part, by their ability to run applications and to host content. I would like to thank the MEF Board for this award and to say that tonight, I am doubly honoured: not only to have been recognised as a global thought leader and pioneer, but also to have been associated with Antero for these last ten years. Thank you!”

Previous winners of the Outstanding Contribution Award:

2008: Greg Clayman, Gordon Gould and Alex LeVine - founders of ‘Upoc’ for the creation of the first mobile communities
2007: Alain Rossman, Chuck Parrish and Bruce Martin – the founders of WAP
2006: Dr Jim Brailean – Pioneer of mobile video
2005: Taneli Armanto – Put the game ‘snake’ on the mobile phone
2004: Vesa Matti Paananen – Inventor of the ringtones business model

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