As expected, this week Microsoft asked a federal appeals court to reverse a ruling that requires the company to bundle Sun Microsystems' Java technology with Windows XP. In Microsoft's appeal to the 4th US District Court of Appeals in Virginia, the company contended that Judge J. Frederick Motz's ruling last month was flawed because Sun didn't prove that it would suffer the irreparable and immediate harm that's required to force an immediate injunction on the software giant. Originally, Motz ruled that Microsoft would have to begin work immediately to integrate Java into Windows, but the appellate court stayed that ruling so that Microsoft could appeal.
"We do not believe that Sun is entitled to this injunction and respectfully disagree with the district court's conclusions in this matter," a Microsoft spokesperson said yesterday. "\[The ruling\] unnecessarily intervenes in the free operation of the marketplace and does not serve the public interest." Sun argues that Microsoft harms its Java environment every day because Microsoft bundles its competing Microsoft .NET technologies for free in Windows.
Sun's lawyers are reviewing the appeal and will respond by March 7, according to a schedule that the appellate court released. Microsoft then has until March 18 to respond to Sun's filing. The legal mess over Java is complex and potentially time-consuming. The appellate court can reverse Motz's preliminary injunction that Microsoft bundle Java immediately, but even if Microsoft wins that case, it will still face Sun in Judge Motz's court later this year. If Microsoft loses that case, the court will again require the company to bundle Java in Windows, a decision that Microsoft could then appeal a second time.