Judge set to force Microsoft to carry Java

December 23, 2002 - A federal judge today said he is prepared to grant Sun Microsystems’ request for an injunction requiring Microsoft Corp. to distribute Sun’s Java plug-in as part of its Windows XP operating system and Internet Explorer Web browser.

The injunction occurs as Sun continues to press a larger suit against Microsoft for its Java dealings. The injunction may serve as an indication that, despite settlement with the Dept. of Justice and all but two of the state attorneys general who originally challenged how Microsoft ran its Windows monopoly, the Redmond, Wash.-based desktop softfware giant's legal troubles are far from over.

Judge Frederick Motz released his opinion in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland after hearing several days of testimony earlier in the month. Under the injunction, Sun is to provide the Java runtime to Microsoft at no cost. The judge said he made this move to help ensure that software developers had choices in computer languages. In announcing the injunction, Motz said he was persuaded that Sun’s likelihood of success in the wider trial “is substantial.”

Java language originator Sun filed suit against Microsoft in March for what Sun described as anticompetitive violations related to the Java software environment. The company sought remedies for “harm inflicted by Microsoft's anticompetitive behavior,” and for damages resulting from Microsoft's efforts to maintain and expand its monopoly.

The present trial relies in great part on evidence gathered during the more widely publicized Dept. of Justice antitrust suit against Microsoft. During its multi-year legal battle with the Dept. of Justice and several state attorneys general, Microsoft was found to have forged an illegal monopoly around its Windows operating systems.

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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