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Judge Blocks Microsoft's Java Strategy; Inprise Jumps in Warm Seat

A Federal district court judge ruled Wednesday that Microsoft Corp. must modify its version of Java to comply with the standard version of Java supported by Sun Microsystems Inc. Microsoft immediately issued a statement saying it would comply with the preliminary ruling.

"The Court has confirmed Microsoft's right to modify and improve the Java technologies it licensed from Sun, but has preliminarily determined that Microsoft may have overstepped the limitations of our license from Sun in a couple of respects in giving programming choices to Java developers," says Tom Burt, Microsoft's associate general counsel.

Microsoft has 90 days to make sure all of its products that include Java technology support Sun's Java Native Interface, and to turn off certain Microsoft-specific keywords in its development tools that are now set by default. Microsoft insists the ruling will have no impact on existing customers, and that the company will be able to modify its products within the time frame to bring them into compliance with the ruling.

The ruling could still be overturned during the trial, which is expected to take place next year.

Within hours of the judge's ruling, Inprise Corp. offered to license its Java development tools to Microsoft to enable it to comply with the ruling. "We recognize that many customers could be adversely impacted by the injunction against Microsoft and therefore we want to offer a solution that will enable Microsoft to quickly comply with the ruling," says Inprise Chairman and CEO Del Yocam, speaking from a company conference in Tokyo, Japan. --Michele Rosen, Staff Reporter/New York Correspondent

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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