REDMOND, Wash., November 17, 1998 — Microsoft announced today that it will comply with a preliminary federal court ruling in its contractual dispute with Sun Microsystems over development tools for the Java programming language in Microsoft Windows 98. The order gives Microsoft 90 days to begin supporting Sun’s Java Native Interface technology in the Microsoft Java virtual machine and requires Microsoft to turn off by default certain Microsoft-specific keywords in its development tools.
Microsoft said it will take all necessary steps to comply with the court’s order, while also working to ensure that customers continue to receive Windows 98 without interruption and that developers continue to get the tools they need to write great Windows-based applications.
“While we are obviously disappointed with this preliminary ruling, we are gratified that the court’s order should not impact customers using Microsoft products today, nor will any products be recalled,” said Paul Maritz, group vice president of platforms and applications at Microsoft. “Further, the Judge has upheld Microsoft’s right to innovate and offer developers the choice of building great Windows applications using the Java language even when complying with the Court’s order.”
Microsoft officials said they were disappointed by Sun’s shortsighted legal strategy, which attempts to limit consumer choice by denying customers and developers access to the highest performance, best integrated implementation of Java on Windows, thereby making Java less attractive as compared to other computer programming languages. But they pointed out that customers using Microsoft products today with Java programming language support are not affected by today’s ruling, nor are developers prevented from taking advantage of great Windows features in Java programs.
“We respect the Court’s ruling and are reviewing our legal options,” said Tom Burt, associate general counsel. “This is a preliminary ruling on a very technical contract interpretation issue involved in this lawsuit. Microsoft has brought new and innovative Java technology to our customers. The Court has confirmed Microsoft’s right to modify and improve the Java technologies it licensed from Sun, but has preliminarily determined that Microsoft may have overstepped the limitations of our license from Sun in a couple of respects in giving programming choices to Java developers.”