- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 24, 2002

BALTIMORE (AP) Microsoft must include rival Sun Microsystems' Java programming language in its Windows operating system, a federal judge ruled yesterday.
The injunction is in force while Sun pursues its antitrust case against Microsoft, one of four private lawsuits that have followed a federal judge's ruling in the government's case against the software giant.
Sun argued during a three-day hearing earlier this month that Microsoft had gained an unfair advantage by shipping Windows used by more than 90 percent of the world's personal computers with an outdated version of Java that was inconsistent for its users.
"In the final analysis, the public interest in this case rests in assuring that free enterprise be genuinely free, untainted by the effects of antitrust violations," U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz said in his ruling.
Java is designed to let programmers write software to run on all types of computers, whether they use Windows, Apple's Mac OS or some other operating system. Users may run into Java without knowing it when they visit Web sites that feature games or other applications.
Software developers are turning to Microsoft's .NET platform instead of gambling on Microsoft's spotty distribution of Java, Sun attorneys told Judge Motz during the hearing.
Microsoft attorneys countered that at least half the world's software developers already were using Java, which was designed to run small applications independent of any particular operating system.
"Competition is not only about winning the prize; its deeper value lies in giving all those who choose to compete an opportunity to demonstrate their worth," Judge Motz wrote. "If .NET proves itself to be a better product than Java, it should and will predominate in the market."
Judge Motz wrote that if Microsoft's system was to remain dominant, "it should be because of .NET's superior qualities, not because Microsoft leveraged its PC monopoly to create market conditions in which it is unfairly advantaged."
In asking for the injunction, Sun said that if it waited until its $1 billion antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft was settled, it would be too far behind to compete.
In the antitrust lawsuit, Sun accuses Microsoft of intentionally creating incompatibilities with competitors' products. It also charged that Microsoft forced other companies to distribute or use products incompatible with Java.
"This decision is a huge victory for consumers, who will have the best, latest Java technology on their PCs," said Mike Morris, a Sun vice president, "and it is a victory for software developers who will write applications to run on those PCs."
Calls to Microsoft yesterday weren't returned immediately.
In the separate lawsuit filed by the Justice Department and 18 states, the court had found that Microsoft acted as an illegal monopoly based on its dominance in desktop operating systems.
In November, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly approved a settlement in that case barring Microsoft from retaliating against or threatening computer manufacturers. The settlement also compels Microsoft to share key technical data with competitors that allow their programs to run more smoothly with Microsoft operating systems.

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