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It's Not Your Java - It's Their Java

"A new dark age, made more sinister.. by the lights of perverted science"

Winston Churchill of course but he might have been anticipating this latest turn of events in the Java feud between Microsoft and Sun last month

Microsoft may have fought them on the beaches but it now has its back to the sea and Sun Microsystems, in a second victory, has won a preliminary injunction in its own private antitrust case against Microsoft, this time requiring the unhappy loser to carry Sun's Java and not Redmond's own Cappuccino; a pun on the C# language for those of you following the .Net story -

Once again, Microsoft has faced an unsympathetic if not hostile judge. On this occasion, Judge Frederick Motz compared Microsoft's treatment of Java to the Tonya Harding ‘kneecapping’ efforts of her ice-skating rival, adding with a true American flourish, that "Capitalism is about making money, but it's also about something else. It's also about pride of product."

Motz continued “If .NET eventually proves victorious, "it should be because of .NET's superior qualities, not because Microsoft leveraged its PC monopoly to create market conditions in which it is unfairly advantaged."

Sticking with the argument that Microsoft, now a wholly reformed character, has no sinister designs on Java, the company’s witness, University of Chicago economics professor Kevin Murphy, testified that Microsoft's current software market advantage doesn't justify forcing it to include Java in its products. This is rubbish say Sun's lawyers who claim that Microsoft is preventing the growth of Java. Hardly an endangered species Microsoft countered pointing out that nearly half of the software development community already uses Java.

The central legal issue in question is whether Sun successfully established before the court what is known as ‘the standard of harm’; can damage to the progress of Java be demonstrated without equivocation and Judge Motz was far less clear, whether that legal standard had been met.

Microsoft, would of course rather have its teeth slowly pulled than see Sun's purer flavour of Java replace its own 'optimised' but very popular brew and strangely enough, I have next to me, an original first issue of my own JavaVision Magazine, from 1997, in which I ask 'Who is going to win the much-publicized row between Microsoft and Sun"?

Six years ago, which is as long as this scrap has been going on in the courts, Microsoft is quoted as saying:

"We do not believe the world will converge to a single programming language any time soon"
Or a single platform either - And that was in 1997...!


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