I think the main issue here is that many people just won't want to/can't download anything. Half of users are irregular web users and even more don't have broadband which means downloads of anysort are a no no. Corporate customers won't download a thing without prior approval from their tech support which means they just won't view the tours. The whole point of java driven tours is that Java is the most commanly installed driving software and will be therefore the least likly to cause tour failiure.
As far as steering users away from jre... well thats all well and good... but the problem is the auto update... and then the reality that the tours don't work. Furthermore... hasn't Microsoft stopped distribution of JVM??
SP2 is a pain as it is... I have yet to install it... but I've seen a customer who wanted to open a CD with a tour get the "beware" warning and they automatically didn't open tour. SP2 makes java driven tours less easy to view due to possible fear of virus issues. This is why Easypano is looking to upgrade TW... but not until September/October.
Easypano... maybe you guys should consider this issue one of urgency... If more and more customers start having tour issues.... well I just don't want to imagine the amount of calls and work that might come my way due to this problem. You guys are kind of obliged to sort a patch out in the interim or risk a very disgruntled user base.
If I only had an hour to chop down a tree... I'd spend 45 mins sharpening the axe.