Microsoft Moves on Ruling in Sun Case

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-02-03 Print this article Print

MS readies new XP service packs in effort to comply with preliminary injunction forcing it to include Sun's Java in Windows.

Microsoft Corp. has started to comply with last months preliminary injunction ordering it to include Sun Microsystems latest Java Runtime Environment (JRE) in certain current and future versions of Windows XP and Internet Explorer. On January 21, Judge J. Frederick Motz of the U.S. District Court in Baltimore, issued the injunction requiring Microsoft to include Suns JRE and enjoining Microsoft from certain separate or stand-alone distributions of its own Java virtual machine (JVM). The Redmond, Wash., software firm said that, effective today, it is replacing Windows XP Service Pack 1 with an updated version of the service pack, Windows XP SP1a, that does not include its own JVM.
This new version is identical to Windows XP SP1 except that it does not include Microsofts Java VM. This move takes effect as soon as the District Courts 14-day stay expires, unless the Court of Appeals issues its own stay.
Interestingly, the original XP SP1 included a number of elements that complied with the changes required by the consent decree in the antitrust litigation between Microsoft, the Department of Justice and the nine settling states. Those elements included changes that allowed both computer manufacturers and users to hide Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Windows Messenger and Outlook Express. Microsoft said on Monday that, provided the order was not stayed or vacated by the Court of Appeals, it would also start offering, in early June, a separate version of SP1, known as SP 1b, which will include Suns JRE. It will also release a full media version of Windows XP SP1b. But, in a strongly worded statement, Microsoft said that "one thing is very clear: Windows customers are not required to take any action as a result of the District Courts order, including downloading the updated versions of Windows XP SP1." The upcoming Windows Server 2003, scheduled for release in late April, was "not impacted by the District Courts order and will include neither the Microsoft Virtual Machine nor Suns JRE," the company said. However, if the order stays, Suns JRE would be made available to all Windows users as a recommended update on Windows Update, Microsoft said. Microsoft will also distribute Suns JRE on supplemental CD-ROMs or other media to OEMs and volume licensees within 120 days of the effective date of the order, even though "the order does not require OEMs and volume licensees to use or distribute Suns JRE. Whether they do so is entirely their choice," said Microsoft. The next service pack, Windows XP SP2, will be released later in 2003 and will be a conventional service pack with a variety of engineering fixes to increase the security and reliability of the operating system. Windows XP SP2 will also include Suns JRE in order to comply with the order. Microsoft will also include Suns JRE in Windows XP SP1b in up to 34 localized versions of the operating system within 210 days of the effective date of the order. Windows XP will also be updated in English and German within 120 days of the entry of the order and, within 90 days of that, in every language version for which Sun has provided a localized version of its JRE software. "If there is no localized version of Suns JRE for a particular localized version of Windows XP, Microsoft will include the English version of Suns JRE to the extent permitted by the law of the relevant jurisdiction," Microsoft said. If Microsoft loses on appeal, it would also distribute Suns JRE with future versions of Windows, including the next client version, code-named Longhorn and due for release in late 2004. It would also then no longer include its VM in future versions of or updates to Windows, including Windows 2000 SP4.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel