Sun internal documents confirm Microsoft position

, October 21, 1998 — Microsoft today released two of its highly confidential legal briefs from the recent hearing in the Java contract lawsuit between Microsoft and Sun. These documents provide a detailed look at the actual contractual issues in dispute in this case.

Microsoft today pointed to the following key points in its legal filings:

“Microsoft was smarter than us when we did the contractWhat I find most annoying is that no one at Sun saw this coming…I wonder what is in other contractsIf we adhere to these terms, new Java and Java Platform functionality must be developed as Supplemental Classes without dependence on new features in the Java Classes or it must have Microsoft buy-in.”
David Spenhoff, Director of Product Marketing at JavaSoft
MS Opp. To 17200 Motion At 9:21-10:9

[The contract]
“subtantially limits our ability to introduce new technologies since almost all new technologies require a new classI believe we’re in violation of the Microsoft contract and our attempt to re-class things as Extensions will have limited success.”
Eric Chu, JDK 1.1 Product Manager and David Bowen, JDK Engineering Manager
MS Opp. To 17200 Motion At 10:12-21

If negotiation with Microsoft is not going well, we can possibly ‘enhance’ the Java Test Suite to invalidate any Java implementation that doesn’t support certain desired new feature. I believe this should be one of the last card we play if negotiation goes badly.
Eric Chu, JDK 1.1 Product Manager
MS Opp. To 17200 Motion At 11:1-4

Despite aggressive language on both sides of this dispute, Sun’s arguments are heavy on email snippets and light on contract specifics. Microsoft’s strategy has been consistent since we licensed Java in March of 1996 and authorized under our contract:

Make Windows the best place to run Java. We believe we have accomplished this goal. Industry reviews have consistently rated the Microsoft implementation of Java for Windows as the fastest and most compatible. For example, the Microsoft virtual machine has won the PC Magazine Editor’s Choice for two years running. Windows implementations of Java lead other platforms by a considerable margin.

Deliver the best development tool for Java. Visual J++ is the world’s bestselling and most widely used Java development tool.

Give developers the choice to build uncompromised Windows applications or cross-platform applications using Java.

Microsoft’s virtual machine and tools give developers the choice to build cross-platform applets or full-fledged Windows applications with Java. The contract negotiated and signed by the two companies explicitly gives Microsoft the ability to offer both options. Developers make their own choice based on what best meets their particular customer requirements. Microsoft has committed to provide Java developers with the choice to take advantage of the great features available in Windows — not surprising since we are the Windows company.

Contrary to Sun’s assertions, Microsoft does not preclude or foreclose the development or execution of cross-platform applets with its products. Sun has not contested in court that Microsoft’s products provide the ability to develop cross-platform applications and that it’s Java Virtual Machine runs those applications.

Related Posts