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Microsoft Appeals Java Order

Microsoft on Wednesday formally appealed a federal judge's order to start distributing Sun's Java Runtime Environment with every U.S. and German copy of Windows XP and Internet Explorer by June 4.

In its legal filings, Microsoft claims that the order by U.S. District Judge Frederick Motz in a private lawsuit with Sun Microsystems arising out of the antitrust case will do irreparable harm to Microsoft.

Microsoft submitted two legal documents on Wednesday. One asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to stay the Motz order of Jan. 21 to carry Java, which would go into effect on Feb. 4 and require Microsoft to begin distributing Sun's JRE with Windows XP within 120 days. The other Microsoft filing is a request for an expedited appeal.

Microsoft complains that the judge's order "requires Microsoft to distribute a large block of software code developed by one of its fiercest competitors with Microsoft's flagship product, Windows, which is distributed annually to more than 100 million customers worldwide."

Microsoft's lawyers claim that being forced to distribute Java in a 120-day timetable will damage Microsoft, Windows and Microsoft's reputation. At the same time, the lawyers allege that the judge's reason for action -- that failing to act could cause the market to "tip" in favor of Microsoft's .NET rather than Sun's Java based on anticompetitive behavior by Microsoft -- is "remote" and "speculative."

The trial is expected to begin in about a year, and Microsoft argues that Sun has acknowledged that any market tip is unlikely to occur for several years. Further, Microsoft argues that its own .NET technology isn't included in Windows XP and won't be included in the operating system for more than a year.

Alleged damages to result from the order to carry Java, according to the filing, include endangering customer relationships, adverse effects on shipping schedules and harm to Microsoft's ability to support its customers. "To insure the delivery of high quality products to customers, Microsoft does not incorporate new software components into a Windows product less than nine to 12 months before the ship date of the product," Microsoft's lawyers write. There is a "'high likelihood' that Microsoft will not be able to incorporate Sun's software into Windows XP on such a schedule without adversely affecting the quality of Windows," the lawyers continue.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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