Judge gives Microsoft 120 days to ship Java

Microsoft has 120 days to begin shipping Sun Microsystems' Java technology with its Windows PC operating system, a US judge ruled...

Microsoft has 120 days to begin shipping Sun Microsystems' Java technology with its Windows PC operating system, a US judge ruled yesterday.

At a hearing in Sun's private antitrust suit against Microsoft, Judge Frederick Motz also ruled that Sun could proceed with all 16 of its antitrust claims against the software maker.

Sun has accused Microsoft of using its monopoly power in the desktop operating systems market to derail the use of Java by distributing Java software incompatible with Sun's, thereby restricting its ability to run across multiple computer platforms.

Lawyers for the two sides argued yesterday (Wednesday) over how to word Motz's December order forcing Microsoft to distribute Sun's Java in operating systems that also include Microsoft's competing .net Framework.

Microsoft lawyer Steven Holley insisted Sun's wording of the "must-carry" order was vague and could require Microsoft to carry Sun's JVM in its server operating systems, a market in which Microsoft does not have a monopoly.

He was also concerned that Microsoft would be required to carry Sun's Java on older versions of Windows other than Windows XP and in Internet Explorer. The .net Framework is an optional install for original equipment manufacturers in the newer operating system.

Holley argued that Sun only offers its Java software in nine languages, while Microsoft's Windows is distributed in 34. He suggested Microsoft should not be required to distribute Sun's Java unless Sun could provide it in all 34 languages because the discrepancies would cause confusion among Microsoft's non-US consumers.

Holley asked Motz to give Microsoft up to 180 days to offer Sun's Java in an upcoming service pack for Windows XP. The first step would be to offer Sun's Java for download from the Web within 30 days. Within 60 days Microsoft would deliver Sun's Java to PC makers for use in their systems, and then within 180 days it would deliver the technology with a Windows XP service pack.

Sun lawyer Rusty Day argued that while Microsoft sought to defer the order, Sun's Java was losing ground to Microsoft's .net Framework. He asked Motz to require Microsoft to incorporate and distribute Java within 90 days, claiming that Microsoft's proposed language of "making available" the Sun version of Java is too vague and would not achieve the distribution parity with .net that Sun needs.

Motz ordered Microsoft to distribute the Sun software within 120 days.

Sun asked the judge to set a firm deadline based on the date of his final order, while Holley wanted the deadline to be based on when Sun delivered working Java code to Microsoft.

Motz asked the two sides to work out their remaining differences by Monday and deliver to him their agreed-upon language in a new "must-carry order" that also resolves other outstanding issues raised in yesterday's hearing.

Microsoft lawyer David Tulchin said he was unsure if the two sides could resolve all the remaining issues by Monday.

"We're not going to be happy with any order, and that's why we're going to the court of appeals."

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