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RealTime IT News

Judge Leans Towards Java's Inclusion in Windows XP

On the first day of arguments in a federal court in Baltimore, Sun Microsystems and Microsoft traded views on whether Sun's Java programming language should be bundled into future versions of Microsoft's Windows XP operating system.

U.S. District Judge Frederick Motz gave some indication on how he may be leaning in the antitrust hearing, which is expected to last through Thursday of this week. Motz called Sun's suggestion that Java be included in XP as "attractive" adding that it would be a "wonderfully elegant and simple, although dramatic" remedy. But Judge Motz also made it clear that no favoritism should be given to Sun over any other competitors.

Lawyers for both Sun and Microsoft made strong arguments before the Judge, advancing unsurprising contentions. Rusty Day, Sun's attorney from the law firm Day, Casebeer, Madrid and Batchelder said because of Microsoft's exclusion of Java in XP, "the harm is happening now."

"The order Sun seeks merely affects a portion of the competitive advantage illegally seized by Microsoft," Day added.

But Microsoft's lead attorney David Tulchin refuted Sun's contention saying "the artificial promotion of Java runs afoul of the goal of preserving competition." Tulchin added Sun's suggested remedy "has never before been granted in any antitrust case."

Sun wants the judge to grant a preliminary injunction, which would force Microsoft to replace Microsoft's outdated Java virtual machine, with a new version of the software, so that it would work with Windows XP and Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser.

But Sun isn't stopping there, it also wants to court to grant a permanent injunction that would order Microsoft to provide full disclosure of its proprietary interfaces to its competitors, and to unbundle products including: Internet Explorer, .Net and Active Directory from Windows.

Sun argued that it has been irreparably harmed by putting a five-year-old version of Java in XP, as Sun vice president Rich Green put it, "it's not only incompatible, but it's out of date." Microsoft lawyer David Tulchin countered by pointing to a speech Green gave when he said that at least 56 percent of developers use Java, and that a billion wireless communications would be using Java by 2006.