Court Orders Reconsideration of Microsoft Java Case
|August 23, 1999: 8:17 p.m. ET|
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, U.S.A. (NB) -- By Laura
Randall, Newsbytes. A federal appeals court has ordered a judge to
reconsider his ruling restricting Microsoft Corp.'s [NASDAQ:MSFT]
shipment of software containing the Java programming language.
The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals made its decision today in
response to Microsoft's appeal of a ruling last November on Microsoft's
use of Sun Microsystems Inc.'s [NASDAQ:SUNW] version of Java
in its product. In that ruling, US District Judge Ronald Whyte of San
Jose, Calif., granted an injunction to Sun, prohibiting Microsoft from
distributing Sun's Java copyrighted products unless Microsoft
conformed to Sun's standards for the universal programming language.
The appeals court determined that there is evidence to back up
Whyte's ruling, but it concluded that Whyte failed to properly
define why Microsoft's actions represented a copyright infringement
rather than a breach of contract. The court ordered Judge Whyte's
injunction lifted, although it doesn't take effect immediately.
Sun's legal counsel, Rusty Day, said that Sun has already asked Judge
Whyte to restore the injunction against Microsoft while he reconsiders
Microsoft and Sun quickly issued responses to the appeals court
decision. Jon Kannegaard, vice president of software development at
Sun, said Sun didn't consider the decision a blow to its Java
programming because of the court's affirmation of the basic points of
Judge Whyte's ruling.
"We don't view this as changing the basics of the case at all,"
Kannegaard said on a hastily called teleconference late today.
Microsoft has no immediate plans to distribute products that use Sun's
copyrights now that the injunction that prohibits their distribution
may be lifted, spokesman Adam Sohn told Newsbytes. "At this time, we
don't anticipate making any substantial product changes," Sohn said.
Sohn called the appeals court decision "a positive step in a pretty
long case." The ruling, he added, affirms Microsoft's long-held belief
that the case comes down to "a contract dispute."
Sun introduced Java as a universal programming language in 1995.
Two years later, Sun sued Microsoft, alleging that the software giant
breached its Java licensing agreement by tweaking the technology to
create programs that run only on Microsoft's operating system.
Reported by Newsbytes.com, http://www.newsbytes.com.
Reposted 19:13 CST
(19990823/Press Contacts: Adam Sohn, Microsoft, 425-703-3276;
Beth Pampaloni, Sun Microsystems, 650-786-7531
/WIRES LEGAL, PC, ONLINE, BUSINESS/MSCODE/PHOTO)