Two of the internet's most valuable brands have clearly achieved that status [distributor level importance]: Java and Google. Could you imagine a PC that couldn't access Java services? Or how about a browser that couldn't get to Google? My view, either would be a tough sell. Other programming, such as Macromedia Flash, Firefox and OpenOffice are in the same league - along with services such as Yahoo.com, eBay, or AOL.com. The world of network services is enormously competitive, and it's driving enormous innovation (and quite a few deals hearkening back to the early days of the internet). Much of this next wave of innovation is referred to as Web 2.0 - the convergence of technology and services that underlie the Participation Age.
The most telling aspect to that nonsense is the "hearkening back to the early days of the internet" - citing deals that were made by Netscape early on don't really help make his point, IMHO. And a PC without Java services in the same league as one that can't access Google? Java is hugely popular, yes - but a force on the client browser side, it's not. If it disappeared from the browser tomorrow, few people would notice or care. To take Google away, you would have to remove the network. That would get noticed.
The bottom line for Sun - they just aren't that relevant at the "movers and shakers" level. It was nice of Google to take pity on them and make a nothing-burger announcement, but it smells of pity.