SAN FRANCISCO (04/07/2000) - A federal judge this week denied a pretrial motion by Sun Microsystems Inc. in its lawsuit against Microsoft Corp. over use of Sun's Java license.
Sun had asked U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte to rule that it did not have to supply Microsoft with Java upgrades compatible with Microsoft's Java technology. The judge denied the motion late Wednesday, Sun and Microsoft representatives confirmed today.
While a Microsoft spokesman said the ruling helps the company as legal proceedings move forward toward a trial of the lawsuit, a Sun spokeswoman and industry analysts said the action is minor.
Sun sued Microsoft in 1997, alleging Microsoft violated the terms of a licensing agreement by altering its Java programming language technology, making it incompatible with Sun's Java technology.
Microsoft will benefit from the ruling, said company spokesman Jim Cullinan, because it adds weight to Microsoft's argument that Sun has misinterpreted the contract between the two companies.
Sun disagreed. "It's a minor ruling," said Penny Bruce, a Sun spokeswoman.
David Smith, an analyst with the Gartner Group Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut, said the ruling will not have a major impact on the more important issue of whether and how Microsoft will ultimately be allowed to use Java technology.
A date for the trial in U.S.District Court in San Jose, California, has not be set.
Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, can be reached at +1-425-882-8080, or at http://www.microsoft.com/. Sun, in Palo Alto, California, can be reached at +1-650-960-1300 or at http://www.sun.com/.