RealTime IT News

Microsoft Wins Latest Java Skirmish

A federal judge has sided with Microsoft Corp. in the latest round of its ongoing Java license dispute with Sun Microsystems Inc.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte agreed to Microsoft's request for summary judgment, effectively dismissing Sun's copyright claims.

The decision comes after an April decision in which Whyte rejected select portions of Sun's interpretation of the license with Microsoft for its Java technology.

In a statement on the judgement, Sun compared the ruling to two orders handed down by Whyte last January in which he refused to grant the infrastructure firm "preliminary injunctive relief" on the grounds of copyright infringement and unfair competition.

In a battle that has tugged back and forth in each heavyweight's favor, those rulings followed a 1998 ruling in which Whyte issued a preliminary injunction barring Microsoft from using Java in its products on the basis the Microsoft was violating intellectual property copyright regulations.

An appeals court later overturned the preliminary injunction. Whyte reinstated the preliminary injunction using California's unfair competition law, rather than the copyright claim.

Sun sued Microsoft in October 1997, alleging the maker of Windows violated its contract with Sun for developing and deploying products using the Java programming language and also Sun's Java copyright.

Java lets software developers create programs that will run on virtually any operating system, such as Windows or Unix.

The ruling came after Sun shipped its Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition version 1.3, a fast and secure foundation for building enterprise applications. J2SE technology v 1.3 is touted for its speedy performance and high functionality that is desired by Web users. With the inclusion of the Java HotSpot Client VM, this is the fastest release of the Java platform to date.