As the result of a private antitrust lawsuit filed by Sun Microsystems against Microsoft Corporation, US Federal Judge J. Frederick Motz ruled late last December that Microsoft should be required to include the Sun Java runtime environment with versions of its Windows operating system and web browser.
The antitrust lawsuit was filed by Sun against Microsoft earlier in 2002. The suit sought ‘remedies for the harm inflicted by Microsoft’s anti-competitive behaviour with respect to the Java platform and for damages resulting from Microsoft’s illegal efforts to maintain and expand its monopoly power’.
In his statement, Judge J. Frederick Motz said that ‘unless the injunction is granted, there is a substantial risk that the market for general purpose, Internet-enabled distributed computing platforms will ‘tip’ irretrievably in favour of .NET (Microsoft’s competing technology) and drive Java into near extinction.’
In June 2001, the Federal Court of Appeals found Microsoft guilty of illegally abusing its monopoly power with respect to Sun and the Java platform.
‘The court (has) granted both Sun’s copyright infringement and ‘Java-Must-Carry’ motions for preliminary injunction in (the) Sun versus Microsoft (case). We are very gratified by the Court’s decision and we are thankful for the opportunity to be heard and for the promptness of the court’s ruling,’ said Mike Morris, VP and Special Counsel, Sun Microsystems.
‘This decision is a huge victory for consumers who will have the best, latest Java technology on their PCs, and it is a victory for software developers who will write applications to run on those PCs. The decision helps ensure that current, compatible Java technology will be included on every consumer desktop and put an end to Microsoft’s practice of fragmenting the Java platform,’ he added.
‘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. Sun and its partners are working to make the best and latest Java technology available world-wide to anyone who wants it – for free. It is the technology and the business model surrounding it that promises to open the markets now monopolised by Microsoft to the benefits of robust competition and unrestrained innovation.’
‘The preliminary injunctions we sought are intended to temporarily address some of the damage that Microsoft has inflicted until a full trial can be conducted. The full trial will include this and all of the other antitrust claims that Sun has brought against Microsoft, ‘ Morris concluded.
Sun is also looking for $1 billion in damages. The full trial is expected to take place sometime next year. Microsoft is appealing the injunction.