Judge delays Sun-Microsoft trial hearing

Sun Microsystems will have to wait a little longer to find out when its epic Java lawsuit against Microsoft will come to trial, after a case management conference that had been due to take place last week was postponed until later this year, a Sun spokeswoman said.

Sun filed suit against Microsoft in 1997, accusing the company of violating the terms of its Java licensing agreement by using an "impure" version of Sun's technology in its Internet Explorer browser, application development tools and other products.

Java is designed for writing applications that can run on any computer regardless of its underlying hardware and operating system.

According to Sun, Microsoft viewed that "write once, run anywhere" capability as a threat to the widespread use of Windows, and tried to derail the technology by creating a version of Java that worked best with Microsoft's own operating system. At various pretrial hearings Microsoft has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, and maintains that it has stuck to the letter of its licensing agreement with Sun.

At the scheduled case management conference in the US District Court in San Jose, California, District Court Judge Ronald Whyte had been expected to set a date for the trial, set deadlines for the completion of discovery and the submission of expert witness lists.

The judge further was to conduct a hearing over all of the outstanding motions for summary judgment in the case. Lawyers for each side were to have an hour each to argue over the remaining motions, according to a court scheduling order issued in May.

But Whyte has postponed the hearing due to "scheduling conflicts", and will set a new date later this year for the case management conference, Sun spokeswoman Penny Bruce said. Microsoft didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

Web sites are: Microsoft http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/java/default.asp/, and Sun at http://java.sun.com/lawsuit/index.html/.

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