Sun, Microsoft In Attack Mode

In their legal skirmish over Java, Sun and Microsoft debate Java's success.

Despite several hours of arguments and testimony from attorneys and witnesses, the judge hearing the preliminary injunction arguments in the Sun Microsystems Inc. versus Microsoft Corp. antitrust case managed to win the day at closing as much as he had at the start of the day.

At the end of a very long day in his court, U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz took the opportunity to ask a few summarizing questions of Rick Ross, president of the Java Lobby Inc., of Cary, N.C., a witness for Sun who said he was in court representing Java developers.

"Would the world as you see it have reached fruition if one platform was speaking to PCs and the other to devices?" Motz asked Ross. Motz was referring to the notion that Java is more prevalent on devices and Microsoft, with its .Net platform, is dominant on the desktop, as both sides established in court.

Added Motz: "The whole vision was that these platforms were going to be compatible for everything. If Microsoft continues to dominate the PC market, and assuming they develop the technology to interact with handheld devices, assuming it was dominant in the PC market, would that over time affect its ability to win the whole field?"

To this Ross replied, "Yes. Even though the software will run on a cell phone, the development will take place on a desktop machine." He added that developers building on a desktop with Microsoft tools are likely to write to a Microsoft-based platform, such as Microsofts .Net Compact Framework.

Ross began his testimony describing his early experiences with Java and his enthusiasm over hearing that Microsoft lined up to license and support Java in 1996, only to be disappointed when the software giant began to distance itself from Java the following year and delivered an incompatible JVM (Java Virtual Machine) into the market, which he said fragmented Java.

Sun sued Microsoft back in March over what it perceived as anti-competitive acts that hampered the adoption of Java and the illegal use of its desktop monopoly in subverting Javas opportunity to succeed.