Execs Stress IP Respect

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2004-04-02 Print this article Print

Both Ballmer and McNealy said significant interoperability already exists between their companies platforms but that they expect it to increase. "Well have server-to-client and server-to-server interoperability and have our stuff talk to each other while respecting each others IP," Ballmer said.
"And dont underestimate the fact that we work together and interoperate already—theres just more we can do if we put the legal stuff behind us," McNealy said.
"Note that they both talk a lot about IP and the value of IP," METAs Murphy said. "This is also a statement about the ability to control your IP, i.e. Java and open-source push from IBM. So, it reaffirms both companies values, but I believe it is also very positive for customers." Asked if he thought Microsoft might continue the kind of predatory behavior he has spoken out so often about, McNealy said, "Im not sure weve ever asked for this kind of relationship before" but added that the settlement "has been handled with a high level of professionalism." "Maybe weve grown up, maybe theyve grown up, or maybe the customers are driving this." "In an environment that gets litigious, it gets harder to have open discussion," Ballmer said. McNealy said he would try to refrain from making the comments he is notorious for that poke fun at Microsoft. "There were equal amounts of rhetoric going both ways, mine was just more clever," McNealy said. But he said he had begun to tone down the rhetoric years ago. "The truth is, we are both very well-established in the enterprise." Sun, the creator of Java, sued Microsoft in 1997 for what Sun claimed was Microsofts improper use of Suns Java technology. Sun and Microsoft agreed to settle the suit in January 2001. Microsoft paid Sun $20 million, and the two agreed to a plan for Microsoft to phase out products that included the older version of Microsoft Java that allegedly infringed on Suns Java copyrights and trademarks. Sun sued Microsoft again in 2002, again claiming improper use of Java and seeking to have Microsoft include an up-to-date version of the Java runtime in every copy of Windows shipped. Also Friday, Sun said it will cut 3,300 jobs and take a $475 million charge. The company said it will spread out the charge over several quarters, including $200 million in the third quarter. In addition, Sun said it has promoted Jonathan Schwartz, who had been Suns executive vice president for software, to president and chief operating officer. The COO position had been vacant since Ed Zander, now chairman and chief executive of Motorola, left Sun in 2002. McNealy would not comment on the job cuts. Check out eWEEK.coms Windows Center at http://windows.eweek.com for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis. Be sure to add our eWEEK.com Windows news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page:  

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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