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MS Killed Java: Time for Justice - A Commentary on Sun's Injunction Request Against Microsoft

MS Killed Java: Time for Justice - A Commentary on Sun's Injunction Request Against Microsoft

(August 30, 2002) - It's interesting to discuss this on the day that Michael Skakel, the "Kennedy cousin", is sentenced to 20 years to life for killing a woman 25 years ago. Someone mentioned to me that it seems a harsh punishment for something that happened so long ago, and I could only reply, "She's still dead."

Five years ago, almost to the day, Microsoft shipped IE4 with a JVM that was intentionally engineered to provide leverage to corrupt and pollute Java compatibility standards. The US District Court clearly found Microsoft guilty of illegal anticompetitive behavior with respect to Java, and that court's findings were upheld and clarified by the US Court of Appeals. Nonetheless, Microsoft has continued to benefit from having used its monopoly power illegally to suppress the emerging success of Java. They have been as free during these past five years as Michael Skakel was since he committed his crime. It is time for justice to be done, and justice demands that Java get the chance to succeed that Microsoft intentionally and illegally took away.

It doesn't matter that Microsoft committed the illegal acts a long time ago, they are no less culpable. I support Sun's motion and hope that the judge who hears this case will understand that Microsoft's illegal acts were made even more severe by the fact that Microsoft committed them early enough to kill Java on the client before it had a reasonable chance to succeed. In the famous words of Barney Fife, they "nipped it in the bud!" It is representative of the worst and most calculated forms of illegal use of monopoly power.


Microsoft's Response to Sun's Injunction Request
Due in October

(August 29, 2002) -- Microsoft has until Oct. 4 to respond to Sun Microsystems' request for a federal court injunction requiring Microsoft to integrate Java into Windows, said Sun spokeswoman Penny Bruce.

This week, U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz set a Dec. 3 hearing on Sun's request for the preliminary injunction, in which Sun also asks that Microsoft be prevented from distributing Virtual Machine for Java in an unlicensed manner.

Last March, Sun filed the private antitrust lawsuit in federal court in San Jose, CA, and transferred the suit to Maryland in August. The lawsuit alleges Microsoft's antitrust violations have harmed the Java platform, and have forced other companies to distribute or use products incompatible with Java. Sun also charges that Microsoft has intentionally created incompatibilities between Microsoft software and competing technologies. Sun has not set a definite dollar amount in the lawsuit, but has said it is seeking coverage for legal costs as well as economic damages.

More Stories By Rick Ross

Rick Ross is the founder of Javalobby (www.javalobby.org). He is a frequent speaker at Java-related events and a well-known advocate for Java developer interests.

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