Judge Steals Show in Sun-Microsoft Duel

U.S. District Court Judge J. Frederick Motz expressed surprise over Kollar-Kotelly's "vehemence" in denying similar request to include Java with Windows.

BALTIMORE—U.S. District Court Judge J. Frederick Motz stole the show during Tuesday mornings preliminary injunction hearing in the Sun Microsystems vs. Microsoft antitrust case here.

The judges questions to lawyers representing the two sides—Rusty Day of Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder, Suns lead counsel, and David Tulchin of Sullivan and Cromwell, for Microsoft—stood out during the opening statements.

The two companies are 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. Sun wants the judge to force Microsoft to distribute Suns JVM with each new copy of Windows and Internet Explorer.

Sun filed this 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.

Right off the bat, Motz expressed "surprise by the vehemence" with which U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly had struck down a similar request to include Java with Windows. Kollar-Kotelly rejected that remedy, which was proposed by the U.S. Department of Justice and nine state attorneys general, as part of her November ruling on remedies in the federal antitrust case against Microsoft.

Microsofts Tulchin defended the "vehemence" by saying that the DOJ and states had been looking for a permanent injunction. Microsoft officials have pointed to Kollar-Kotellys ruling as evidence that Suns injunction would be no good for competition or consumers.

Day told the court that Sun will be irreparably harmed going forward unless the court grants Suns sought-after preliminary injunction. He said that harm already has been demonstrated, and thus doesnt need to be shown.

Tulchin countered by citing the 1996 agreement by which Microsoft licensed Java from Sun. He said that Microsoft did not agree to distribute Java as part of that agreement.