Sun turns up heat on Microsoft

With all the legal heat on Microsoft from the Department of Justice, its sometimes easy to forget that Sun Microsystems also has a court case pending with its rival from Redmond. Unless you're Sun, that is. Sun Microsystems today won the latest round in its fight with Microsoft when a U.S. District court refused to extend the date of a hearing that will determine whether Sun will get a temporary injunction barring Microsoft from using its Java compatible logo. The hearing is set for February 27; Microsoft wanted to push the date back to June and turn the ruling over to a federal judge.

During the hearing, which will proceed as planned in February, Sun and Microsoft will have 20 minutes apiece to explain their sides to Judge Whyte. Sun wants Microsoft to pass its Java compatibility tests before it is allowed to use the Java compatible logo on Internet Explorer 4.0 and its Software Development Kit (SDK) for Java. Interestingly, Microsoft recently posted a Java SDK for Windows CE, its handheld PC operating system, and didn't include the Java logo as it has in the past.

One piece of evidence Sun is using in the case is a PowerPoint presentation created by Paul Maritz, Microsoft's VP of Platforms and Applications. In the presentation, created in early 1996, Maritz says that Netscape was using its Navigator Web browser to create a "virtual operating system" that was "no longer a browser, but an environment." He also says that Java "will redefine client/server computing. Windows will become devalued \[and\] eventually replaceable." Maritz says that Microsoft's lack of control over Java is a "weakness" and proposed that Microsoft "catch Netscape and neutralize Java."

Other damning portions of the confidential presentation reveal Maritz's plans for Microsoft domination of the Internet. "Java cannot be an advantage for Netscape," he says in one slide. "Get control of, then leverage the programming model. Extend HTML to leverage Microsoft tools, use COM/OLE objects to add behaviors to client/server and platform, neutralize Java, build identity around \[ActiveX\].

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