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By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2002-12-23 Print this article Print

: Judge to Rule on Sun-Microsoft Battle"> Motz heard arguments on the issue for three days during the week of Dec. 1, 2002, in his courtroom at U.S. District Court in Baltimore. At the end of the hearing, Motz praised both sides for having put on strong cases and said the two legal teams had him going "back and forth" on the issue and that he had not made up his mind as of the end of the hearing.
During the hearing, Motz made several comments that could be construed as leaning toward Sun, although he admonished those in the courtroom not to take any direction from comments he had made.
Calling the skirmish both a "social" and "moral" issue, Motz said he believed "Java people have pride," just as Microsoft developers do, and have the right to see their technology get a fair shake in the market. Motz also, owing to the Sun legal team, made a comparison likening Sun to Nancy Kerrigan and Microsoft to Tonya Harding: "Nancy Kerrigan is deprived of the opportunity to compete on two good knees," he said. "Is there a social value on being able to participate in a market undistorted by your competitor?" However, although many press reports cited the comments coming straight from the judge, Motz made the comments based on direction from the Sun legal team and witnesses. In fact, Rick Ross, president of Javalobby Inc., first made the Nancy Kerrigan comparison in eWEEK last June. Ross, who was a witness for Sun in the case, told eWEEK that the quote became part of Suns legal strategy. In his opening statement, Suns lead attorney on the case, Lloyd "Rusty" Day, of the law firm of Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder, spoke of Microsofts "kneecapping" Sun. And Sun continued to make references to Microsoft having taken out Suns knees throughout its arguments, including Rick Rosss testimony. Sun filed its private antitrust suit against Microsoft in March, claiming the software giant used its desktop operating system monopoly to slow and sidetrack Javas momentum as an alternative platform for developers. Sun charges that Microsoft intentionally sought to fragment the market for Java by seeding it with incompatible software. This suit is the second Java-related suit filed by Sun. The first, filed in October 1997, was a contract dispute over Microsofts distribution of Java compatible technology, which the parties settled in January 2001. However, this latest suit, which is scheduled to go to trial next year, has both sides digging in. Microsoft is fueled by recent rulings in the landmark government case against the software giant, in which U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly did not accept recommendations that Microsoft should be forced to distribute Suns technology. At the hearing earlier this month, Sun called three witnesses: Rich Green, a Sun vice president; Rick Ross, founder of Javalobby Inc.; and Dennis Carlton, an economist and professor at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Microsoft called four witnesses: Chris Jones, vice president of Microsofts Windows Client Group; Andrew Layman, director of XML Web services standards at Microsoft; Sanjay Parthasarathy, corporate vice president of Microsofts Platform Strategy Group; and Kevin Murphy, an economist and also a professor at the University of Chicago. In addition to the pre-trial hearing on the preliminary injunction, Motz also will be hearing class action lawsuits against Microsoft and other private lawsuits against the software giant filed by Be Inc., AOL Time Warner Inc. and others. A second hearing before Motz is scheduled for Jan 10, 2003, where Microsoft will argue its motion to dismiss these private claims. (Editors Note: This story has been modified since its original posting to add reactions from Sun, Microsoft.)

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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