Today, Microsoft and Sun will begin a three or four day standoff in a US District courthouse in Baltimore, Maryland, arguing whether Sun's Java technology should be included in Microsoft's Windows XP operating system. Sun wants US District Judge Frederick Motz to force the software giant to stop shipping Microsoft's "incompatible" version of Java in XP and instead bundle Java's version.
The hearings begin today with opening arguments from each side. Sun will then call three witnesses: Dennis Carlton, a University of Chicago economist; Rich Green, Sun vice president; and Rick Ross, the founder of the Java Lobby. Microsoft's witnesses include Chris Jones, Microsoft vice president of the Windows Client Group; Kevin Murphy, an economist; Andrew Layman, a recognized XML expert; and Sanjay Parthasarathy, Microsoft corporate vice president of the Platform Strategy Group.
Sun's lawsuit against Microsoft is only partially related to the wider antitrust problems facing the software giant. Sun first sued Microsoft in October 1997, alleging that the company violated its Java licensing agreement by offering a Java version that was incompatible with other versions, while advertising it as being compatible. Sun was on route to a resounding victory in the case when the two sides settled in January 2001, with Microsoft agreeing to pay Sun $20 million and stop shipping its incompatible Java version. When a federal court found Microsoft guilty of sweeping antitrust violations in mid-2001, Sun sued, arguing that Java would have been vastly more successful had Microsoft not illegally wielded its market power against the technology.
Judge Motz ruled previously that Sun can use some of the findings in the wider antitrust case in the Java case, which could bolster the company's chances. Microsoft responds to these charges by noting that Sun is seeking to force the distribution of one of its products in a manner that would give Sun an unfair advantage of its own.