A federal judge gave Sun Microsystems Inc. a big Christmas present and Microsoft a coal in its stocking Monday afternoon, by granting Sun the preliminary injunction the company asked for in its private antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft Corp.
U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz ruled that Microsoft both infringed on Suns copyright for its intellectual property and that Microsoft must ship a Sun-compatible Java Virtual Machine (JVM) with each copy of its Windows operating system and Internet Explorer browser.
Mike Morris, vice president and special counsel at Sun, said: "Today the court granted both Suns copyright infringement and Java-Must-Carry motions for preliminary injunction in Sun vs. Microsoft. We are very gratified by the Courts decision and we are thankful for the opportunity to be heard and for the promptness of the courts ruling."
The judges ruling is a temporary condition that Microsoft must adhere to until the case goes to trial.
"The preliminary injunctions we sought are intended to temporarily address some of the damage that Microsoft has inflicted until a full trial can be conducted," Morris said. "The full trial will include this and all of the other antitrust claims that Sun has brought against Microsoft."
Further, Morris said: "This decision is a huge victory for consumers who will have the best, latest Java technology on their PCs, and it is a victory for software developers who will write applications to run on those PCs. The decision helps ensure that current, compatible Java technology will be included on every consumer desktop and will put an end to Microsofts practice of fragmenting the Java platform.
"This decision changes the dynamics of the distribution channel for the Java technology. Its a victory for the Java Community, including developers, consumers and system vendors. Sun and its partners are working to make the best and latest Java technology available worldwide to anyone who wants it—for free. It is the technology and the business model surrounding it that promises to open the markets now monopolized by Microsoft to the benefits of robust competition and unrestrained innovation."
Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler said in reaction to the ruling: "We are disappointed with todays ruling and still need to review the details of the courts decision. Microsoft intends to appeal todays ruling and will ask the Court of Appeals to hear it on an expedited basis."
Jonathan Zuck, president of the Association for Competitive Technology, a Microsoft-backed industry trade group, in Washington, said:
"We are extremely disappointed and puzzled by the decision today to force Microsoft to carry Suns Java product. Over the past few years, our industry has been mired in litigation that ultimately does not benefit the industry or consumers. Sun Microsystems, in particular, has taken a leading role in this litigation and lobbying frenzy. Rather than improve their own products and put their resources in research and development, they continue to look for ways to have the government and courts do their work for them.
"Where Java stands to make the most progress is in the enterprise where heterogeneous networks are a reality and where wide scale deployment is simple. The reason Java hasnt taken off in that environment doesnt have to do with the absence of the Java VM on a PC, it has to do with least common denominator functionality that doesnt fully exploit the Operating System and performance.
"What our industry needs is more competition and innovation, not more lawsuits and regulations that force companies to carry their competitors product. We are hopeful that as this litigation moves forward, this order is reversed."