The drama around Java continues. The battle for Java is becoming more dramatic than a soap opera and many major companies are involved. Oracle (news, site) and the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) (news,site) are in a bitter dispute over licensing issues and ASF threatens to veto Java 7 if the licensing issues are not resolved. On the positive end of things however, Apple (news, site) has announced its support for OpenJDK, thus putting an end to speculations that it might not allow Java on Mac OS X.
Was Apple Going to Abandon Java?
Though it may have looked like Apple was going to abandon Java, not many people took this in earnest. The reason is simple -- Java is too popular and Apple can't afford to cut it off from their devices because users will object to it.
If Apple could afford to get rid of Java and replace it with their own software, maybe they would have, but since they can't do this, they need to shop for alternatives. OpenJDK seems to be one viable alternative they have.
OpenJDK or Harmony
The fact that Apple backs Oracle and adopted their OpenJDK wouldn't mean that much, if the other alternative hadn't been ASF's Harmony. Harmony is also an open source Java SE. The choice was probably political --whom to side with: Oracle or ASF? In this case, the backing of OpenJDK by Apple means that they side with Oracle in their dispute with ASF.
Apple has never been a major player in the Java community but Mac OS is one of the major operating systems on the market and because of this it can't be neglected. The “Write once, run everywhere” philosophy of Java, though it never worked out literally, would get very crippled if Java couldn't run on a major operating system.
The problem here is that all these recent developments aren't good for Java. Java might be a very popular programming language but all this turmoil is inflicting damage to it and in the long-term it might harm a lot.
When there is so much uncertainly about which direction Java will take, people are cautious to invest their money in the development of software with an uncertain future. This uncertainly could seriously undermine the popularity of Java.