Microsoft Wins Round in Sun Java Dispute

FRAMINGHAM (04/10/2000) - It may pale in significance compared with the antitrust decision handed down on Monday. But Microsoft Corp. today said it won at least a small legal victory this week - over Sun Microsystems Inc.

According to Microsoft, the U.S. District Court judge who is overseeing a Java licensing dispute between the two companies rejected Sun's claim that it didn't have to deliver Java upgrades compatible with Microsoft's version of the programming language.

In the original suit, Sun alleged that Microsoft acted improperly by creating a version of Java that was nonstandard because it was optimized for Windows.

Sun's contention was one of a combined total of 10 requests for summary judgments that the two companies have filed in the case, which involves dueling breach-of-contract suits.

Microsoft has claimed that the Java licensing deal between the two companies required Sun to make its Java upgrades backwards-compatible with what Microsoft had developed. Sun, on the other hand, argued that Microsoft had to take the upgrade as is and would then have six months to make its version of Java compatible with the new release.

A Microsoft spokesman labeled Sun's claim "loony" and said that kind of arrangement "is not something that we would ever negotiate." Sun officials couldn't be reached for comment on the matter.

The case was started three years ago when Sun filed against Microsoft, which then countersued. A trial date has not yet been set.

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