Sun Sues Microsoft, Seeks Over $1 Billion

Following in AOL's footsteps, Sun Microsystems has filed a private lawsuit against Microsoft for anticompetitive practices, including harm inflicted by not shipping Java with Windows XP. Sun said it was seeking damages north of $1 billion, and to require Microsoft to release the Internet Explorer source code. A preliminary injunction also sought by Sun would force Microsoft to immediately include Java in Windows XP and Internet Explorer.

Microsoft announced it would remove Java support last summer due to previous settlement terms with Sun, which allowed the software giant to only ship an older version of the programming language. Unprepared for such a move, Sun lashed out at Microsoft for hurting the development community and said it would offer a special Java download for Windows XP users. Unfortunately, the update has not had the mainstream acceptance the company had hoped.

"This private antitrust lawsuit is intended to restore competition in the marketplace by removing unlawful barriers to the distribution of the Java platform and to interoperability between Microsoft software and competitive technologies," Sun General Counsel Michael Morris said in a statement. "The achievement of these goals will allow for greater innovation and increased customer choice."

icrosoft spokesperson Jim Desler fired back with his almost weekly legal response, stating it was "time to move past these issues." Desler reaffirmed such litigation would only hurt developers and consumers. "The industry is at its best when we focus on innovation and developing great products," he said.

Sun also raised concerns that .NET would eventually phase out competitors such as Java. "Microsoft now will provide the .Net platform as a middleware layer on top of Windows, and encourage developers increasingly to write their applications to this new platform, gradually obsolescing the Windows platform and transferring Microsoft's monopoly from the PC operating system to this new middleware layer. Microsoft hopes then to use its ill-gotten .Net market share to dominate the increasingly important realm of server-based computing, a realm that currently poses the greatest threat to Microsoft's PC hegemony," the lawsuit states.

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