Sun, Microsoft Go Head-to-Head on Java

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2002-12-03
 
 
 

Sun, Microsoft Go Head-to-Head on Java


Sun Microsystems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are scheduled to head into round two of their legal skirmish over Java when the two companies meet in court here Tuesday morning.

The companies will be battling over Suns call for a preliminary injunction that would force Microsoft to ship a standard version of the Sun Java Virtual Machine in Windows. U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz will hear opening arguments and witness testimony on the preliminary injunction. Sun wants the judge to force Microsoft to distribute Suns JVM with each new copy of Windows and Internet Explorer.

Sun filed a 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, with this latest suit, slated for trial next year, both sides seem to be digging in. Microsoft is fueled by recent rulings in the landmark government case against it, 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 this week, which starts this morning and is expected to run through Thursday, both sides will present opening arguments Tuesday morning and then begin to call witnesses with Sun going first. Each side will get at least six hours of witness testimony and then be allowed 90 minutes each for closing arguments Thursday.

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Sun is scheduled to call three witnesses: Rich Green, a Sun vice president; Rick Ross, founder of the Java Lobby Inc.; and Dennis Carlton, an economist and professor at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

Microsoft will call 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.

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