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Microsoft Must Include Sun Java in Windows XP, IE

Microsoft Corp. must include Sun Microsystems' Java with Windows XP and Internet Explorer, according to a preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz in Baltimore.

The Dec. 23 decision comes in Sun's private antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft in March. Based on the federal court's ruling that Microsoft violated antitrust laws, Sun is seeking to prove that Microsoft's anticompetitive behavior harmed Sun's Java technology and get the court to award damages. The case is not expected to reach trial for about a year.

Motz spent much of his decision explaining why the injunction should be granted before the trial. His major argument hinged on the possibility that the market would tip in favor of .NET rather than Java while the case was being decided.

"If .NET proves itself to be a better product than Java, it should -- and will -- predominate in the market for general purpose, Internet-enabled distributed computing platforms. But if that occurs, 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," the judge wrote.

Mike Morris, vice president and special counsel, Sun Microsystems, called the judge's preliminary injunction a "huge victory for consumers."

"This decision changes the dynamics of the distribution channel for the Java technology. It's a victory for the Java Community, including developers, consumers and system vendors," Morris said in a statement.

Sun officials told reporters that the judge ordered Sun and Microsoft lawyers to get together over the holidays to decide which products would need to include Sun's version of Java.

Immediately after the ruling, however, Microsoft representatives said the company was considering an appeal of the injunction.

About the Author

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