Microsoft Moves on Ruling in Sun Case

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.