Microsoft Corp. will not have to include Sun Microsystems Inc.s latest Java Runtime Environment (JRE) in Windows and Internet Explorer until the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reviewed the case.
The U.S. Appeals Court on Monday granted Microsoft a stay of the Jan. 21preliminary injunction by Judge J. Frederick Motz of the U.S. District Court in Baltimore, which ordered Microsoft to include Suns JRE with Windows and Internet Explorer going forward, and enjoined Microsoft from certain separate or stand-alone distributions of its own Java virtual machine (JVM).
The appeals court on Monday also agreed to hear Microsofts appeal on an expedited basis. That decision now suspends Motzs injunction until the appeals court decides whether or not to uphold his order. A hearing has not been scheduled as yet.
Microsoft welcomed the move, but Lee Patch, Suns vice president of legal affairs, said in a statement that the decision was regrettable as the preliminary injunctions granted by the district court would benefit consumers and the Java communitys developers, enterprises and system vendors.
The stay also came just hours after Microsoft posted a letter on its Web site, addressed to all its customers, in which the Redmond, Wash., software company said it has started to comply with last months ruling. In the letter, Microsoft said that, effective Monday, it was replacing XP Service Pack 1Windows with an updated version of the service pack, Windows XP SP1a, which does not include its own JVM. It will also start offering, in early June, a separate version of SP1, known as SP 1b, which will include Suns JRE, it added.
In a strongly worded statement in the letter to customers, 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.
If Microsoft loses on appeal, it will 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, Microsoft said in the customer letter.
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