Judge Orders Microsoft to Ship Java in Windows XP within 120 Days

US District Court Judge J. Frederick Motz ruled late yesterday that Microsoft must bundle Sun Microsystems' version of Java in Windows XP within 120 days, a compromise of sorts between the schedules the two companies sought. Sun wanted its version of Java included in XP within 90 days, whereas Microsoft asked for several months. The ruling came after a lengthy hearing with the two companies, in which Judge Motz asked Sun and Microsoft to continue working together and give him a final schedule by Monday.

"I want this done, and I want it done in 120 days," Judge Motz said, adding that Microsoft can extend the integration deadline later if the company has good technical reasons to do so. "I can't sit here hearing after hearing," he said. Perhaps more important, however, Judge Motz also granted Microsoft a 2-week stay, during which time the company can ask the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals to consider an appeal of the decision. Microsoft wanted Judge Motz to stay the order until an appeal could be heard, but he wasn't interested in Microsoft's timetable. "If my order doesn't get stayed or reversed \[on appeal\], it's going to get done," Judge Motz said. "\[So\] we've got to get the order entered so the appeal is heard simultaneously with some implementation."

Under terms of the ruling, Microsoft must issue XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), a set of software updates to its best-selling Windows version that includes Sun's latest Java technology, within 120 days. XP SP2 will also include Microsoft .NET, a Java competitor. Microsoft had argued that including Java in XP would take far longer than 90 days because of technical complexities, but Judge Motz admonished Microsoft lawyers for not bringing up the issues earlier. He reminded them of his December 2002 opinion, in which he wrote that "\[when Microsoft\] has the will to obstruct, the obstruction is complete."

Judge Motz also rejected Microsoft's request to dismiss all seven of Sun's tying claims (i.e., tying .NET to Windows) against the software giant and reversed an order he issued last week that dismissed two of Sun's tying charges. Judge Motz reinstated the charges and will rule on those claims as part of his overall ruling.

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