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Sun's Schwartz Warns of MS Attempt to Monopolize Web Services

Sun's Schwartz Warns of MS Attempt to Monopolize Web Services

(April 10, 2002) - No one can predict the future accurately, far less the I-technology future. So it was perhaps a little surprising that U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly turned down a Microsoft Corporation objection this week to written testimony by Sun Microsystems’ Jonathan Schwartz, their chief strategy officer.

Schwartz stated in his testimony to Judge Kollar-Kotelly that Sun fears Microsoft is poised to leverage its Windows OS monopoly, via XML-based Web services and its .NET platform, into an MS monopoly of the Internet itself. Sun isn't entitled to speculate like this on the future behavior of a competitor, claimed Microsoft. Oh yes it is, ruled the judge.

Without necessarily agreeing that what Sun called Microsoft's track record of obstructing Java made it possible to predict similar anticompetitive behavior now that .NET and Java are competing in the Web services space, Kollar-Kotelly quoted a Supreme Court ruling that "drafting an antitrust decree involves predictions" - and turned down Microsoft's objections to Schwartz's testimony.

"The Internet is largely built on open standards," Schwartz further stated in his testimony, "but Microsoft's control of the ubiquitous operating system combined with its ownership of the dominant browser and promotion of .NET Passport means that it could lock end users in to a Microsoft-controlled world."

He also alleged that Microsoft has been withholding information about the inner workings of their Passport security software and other .NET software to make it difficult for products from competitors like Sun to work well with servers that run on Microsoft software. (One of the remedies required by the nine states is an antitrust sanction requiring Microsoft once again to include Java, eliminated from the new Windows XP operating system.)

Schwartz was witness no. 13 called by the nine states seeking tough antitrust remedies against Microsoft for illegally maintaining its Windows monopoly. With his evidence now admitted, perhaps 13 will turn out to be a lucky number for Sun.

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