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Sun Microsystems

Sun Files Suit Against Microsoft for Anti-Trust Violations 694

Herve writes "Sun Microsystems announced it has filed a private antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft Corporation. The suit, filed March 8, 2002 in the United States District Court in San Jose, CA., seeks remedies for the harm inflicted by Microsoft's anticompetitive behavior with respect to the Java[tm] platform and for damages resulting from Microsoft's illegal efforts to maintain and expand its monopoly power. In June 2001, the Federal Court of Appeals found Microsoft guilty of illegally abusing its monopoly power with respect to Sun and the Java platform. Sun's suit seeks to redress the competitive and economic harm caused by Microsoft's illegal acts."
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Sun Files Suit Against Microsoft for Anti-Trust Violations

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  • ...and more (Score:5, Interesting)

    by oakz ( 311089 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @02:08PM (#3131076)
    ...the suit is also seeking access to the APIs used by Microsoft software and the IE source code.
    Would be interesting to see if there are "hidden interfaces" exposed in the Windows API.
    • Re:...and more (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sabalon ( 1684 )
      Hmmm...the IE source code. Isn't that just a wrapper around the HTML control? Gonna be pretty short source.

      Same problem the DoJ had - lets focus on IE without realizing that the functionality is buried much deeper.
      • Re:...and more (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dup_account ( 469516 )
        Just because code is buried in the OS instead of the application (like it should be) doesn't mean that it isn't part of the application. I beleive that you will also find Office code buried in the OS. Does that mean that Word is part of Windows? I believe that (currently) M$ still says it isn't.
        • Re:...and more (Score:3, Informative)

          by kaphka ( 50736 )
          Just because code is buried in the OS instead of the application (like it should be) doesn't mean that it isn't part of the application. I beleive that you will also find Office code buried in the OS. Does that mean that Word is part of Windows? I believe that (currently) M$ still says it isn't.
          The "real" IE is neither buried in the OS, nor part of the browser app. It's implemented as an object in the shdocvw.dll library. That is where it belongs, since many real applications besides IE use it extensively. Modularity and reusability is a CS 101 concept; if you know a reason why Microsoft "should be" doing it any differently, please let us know.
        • Re:...and more (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ackthpt ( 218170 )
          We got new PCs at work about 6 mos. ago, with 512Meg RAM. I thought, wow, I should have a hard time filling that up, forgetting for a moment what OS we use at work. The funny thing is booting up and running the performance monitors and watching Windows fill that RAM up with just about everything, until it's about 50% full. Ok, so your M$ apps come up fast when you launch them, as opposed to how long it takes to load Netscape or any of the Adobe tools I use. You can tell who holds the reins on the OS, eh?

          The ugly part is when I start loading in large amounts of data, rather than empty out all that unused code, it starts paging it. Beautiful. Way to manage memory. It's fun to load about 180Meg of data into memory, when you have 512Meg and then get messages that you now have insufficient memory to open new application windows.

      • Re:...and more (Score:4, Insightful)

        by dustman ( 34626 ) <{ten.cltt} {ta} {yraeld}> on Friday March 08, 2002 @02:17PM (#3131151)
        Check the mozilla source code for what's required for a browser... Even after you remove things that are more than just the browser (mail, news, etc), there is still quite a bit of work on top of an HTML renderer.

        The net layer stuff for communication with servers, bookmarks, history, security, etc...

        If the 'HTML component' does all of this, then I would argue its a part of IE.

        PS: let's just consider the fact that everyone is already familiar with the 'mozilla bloat' jokes/comments and we don't need to rehash them :)
    • Not entirely true (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jordan_a ( 139457 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @02:21PM (#3131184)
      The press releases says:
      Disclose and license proprietary interfaces, protocols and formats.
      This doesn't include the actually source code for IE. It might include the .DOC format though, now that could be intresting
  • by kwerle ( 39371 ) <> on Friday March 08, 2002 @02:09PM (#3131080) Homepage Journal
    For abusing their monopoly power over JAVA and trying to make it tank on the desktop.

    Think I have a case?
    • by the gnat ( 153162 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @02:19PM (#3131167)
      I can't tell if this is a joke or not. Why shouldn't Sun have a monopoly over Java, and if they have tried to make it tank on the desktop, what right do you have to sue them? If Sun had a monopoly on all languages for GUI programming, that would be more of a comparison to Microsoft. As it is, Java is their product and they can direct it as they see fit. I think any lawsuit like you're talking about would be thrown out as frivolous without hesitation.
    • by mrwugga ( 258826 )
      In what way did they try make it tank on the desktop?
      I see MS more to blame in this case.
      What they didn't want is for MS to warp Java such that it only worked on the Windows platform, losing its feature of platform independence.

      Also, as mentioned time and time again, although they keep control over the Java language, the language's specs are aligned by the JCP. (Although I must admit, the new Regular expressions and Log libraries suck compared to the Apache's libraries)

      Speaking as a Java applications developer, it works quite well on the desktop if done correctly, just like any other language.

  • The Java stuff came up in the trial, and now that Microsoft has been found guilty, they are liable for triple damages.

    Of course, it all really depends on who has the better lawyers.

    • The Java stuff came up in the trial, and now that Microsoft has been found guilty, they are liable for triple damages.

      The antitrust trial only showed that Microsoft had broken the law. To win this suit, Sun must show that they have been damaged as a direct result of Microsoft's actions (and not, say, bad marketing, an inferior product, customers preferring Microsoft, or a host of other things Microsoft's lawyers could come up with). Showing wrongdoing is only half the battle. This suit is by no means a slam-dunk for Sun.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        All Sun has to do is show how popular JAVA is on web sites and other programs and they can let their case rest. It doesn't take an IQ over 2 to figure out that JAVA is impossibly HUGE on the net for web sites and such. It's something that is pretty common to have in ALL OS's now. The fact that MS screwed them over with their crap will show how their practices have harmed them for not including JAVA standard with their OS (They dont include JAVA anymore).

        I think Sun will get far far more than 3 Billion quoted somewhere else. This is big, we're talking 10s of billions possibly. Next up will be Novell. You can bet dollars to dimes on it. Companies will *not* stop until the Monopoly machine is dried up of cash for destroying their sales with their illegal practices. (As it SHOULD be with all Monopolies - Try and take too much of the pie, and you get none at all. So sorry.)

    • and now that Microsoft has been found guilty
      Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the DOJ's proposed settlement explicitly stated that the court case and settlement could not be used by third parties as the basis for further lawsuits?


  • Perhaps someday... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by joshjs ( 533522 )
    ...the combined political payoffs of Microsoft's enemies will become greater than that of MS itself.

    What a nice little thought.
  • by jeffy124 ( 453342 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @02:10PM (#3131088) Homepage Journal
    Companies like Netscape and AOL and now Sun are just now all sueing MS simply because they have lost faith in the Justice Dept to hand down stiff penalties on Microsoft, so companies harmed by Microsoft are now seeking to send down their own penalties (as in most of these lawsuits will end in MS paying off the plaintiff).
    • by dj28 ( 212815 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @02:13PM (#3131125)
      They're not doing it to hurt Microsoft, they are doing it to line their own pockets because Microsoft's monopoly status has been proven in court. It will be much easier for them to collect damages in this case.
    • They are hardly so high minded.

      A little cynicism would do you good.

      They are suing because Microsoft has deep pockets and that reason alone. In sun's case, they weren't harmed, they were helped. And only their bizzar temper-tantrums have hurt them with respect to Java.

      But the fact, not the idea, that they are using court rooms as away to improve their bottom line and not a place to seek redress makes me want to vomit. Those are the types of people at sun. Amoral sophists. That's what they stand for. It's only a matter of time before that attitude permiates everything they do.
  • by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @02:10PM (#3131092) Homepage
    that the DOJ has gotten 'orders' from higher-ups in the executive branch to "Let Msft Be free to Innovate" and get govt off the backs of big business.

  • by telstar ( 236404 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @02:11PM (#3131101)
    Here is the text of Microsoft's stance on the issue found here [].

    An Open Letter Regarding Windows XP and Java Support
    Sun Microsystems has invested a great deal of their marketing dollars and lobbying efforts in attacking our yet-to-be released Windows XP operating system, claiming that Microsoft has hurt Sun, the Java language and PC industry customers at large by not including the Microsoft virtual machine in Windows XP.

    We feel it is important to outline for our customers the facts on this matter.

    Sun Microsystems has taken every step possible to prevent Microsoft from shipping our award winning Java virtual machine. In fact, Sun resorted to litigation to stop Microsoft from shipping a high performance Java virtual machine that took optimal advantage of Windows. The settlement agreement provides for a termination of Microsoft's existing license with Sun and phase-out of the Microsoft VM, so Sun's professed surprise is mere spin. It should be noted that, since the settlement, a Federal Appeals Court has upheld Microsoft's development of a high-performance, well-integrated virtual machine for Windows as pro-competitive.

    When Microsoft and Sun settled their litigation earlier this year, Sun was quick to pronounce the settlement a great victory. Sun's CEO said, "It's pretty simple: This is a victory for our licensees and consumers. The community wants one Java technology: one brand, one process and one great platform. We've accomplished that, and this agreement further protects the authenticity and value of Sun's Java technology."1 Sun got what they said they wanted: the termination of the existing Java license with Microsoft, and an agreement that Microsoft would phase out its Java virtual machine.

    Sun now professes surprise and unhappiness, and is complaining publicly. But as industry analysts such as Bob Sutherland of Technology Business Research point out: "Sun can't have it both ways. They don't want Microsoft to have monopolistic control, but at the same time they want them to control their Java. No matter what Microsoft does, Sun is going to try to demonize them."2

    Perhaps most disturbing, Sun is being disingenuous about the impact on customers. Microsoft has taken several steps to make its Java implementation available to Windows XP customers while adhering to the settlement agreement and protecting Windows customers from any future litigation by Sun. While the Microsoft virtual machine is not on the Windows XP CD, it is still an integrated part of the product. Customers who upgrade to Windows XP from recent prior versions of Windows can easily and automatically take advantage of their existing Java virtual machine. Customers with new machines or who perform a clean installation of Windows XP will automatically be offered the choice to perform a one-time download of the virtual machine the first time they browse a Web page containing a Java applet. This download is then available for any subsequent applet a customer may encounter. Finally, Microsoft has made its virtual machine available to any PC manufacturer to ship with new Windows XP systems, to save customers even this one-time download.

    At Microsoft we are proud of the Java virtual machine we created, and the value our customers see in it. It has a long history of high quality and superior performance. It is also the only Java virtual machine that offers an integrated applet browsing experience with Internet Explorer. And it offered customers a choice - just as Windows XP will enable customers to choose and run other third-party virtual machines.

    Sun works hard to create an image of itself as a leader in openness and choice with Java. The notion that Java is "open" is simply incorrect - Sun's actions ensure this, as again clearly demonstrated when it submitted Java to an industry standards body and then reneged on the submission, not just once but twice. Contrast these actions with Microsoft, where we have submitted the underlying specifications for Microsoft .NET to ECMA and are following through on our commitment.

    Sun's idea of choice is that you can have any language you want, as long as it is Sun's version of Java under Sun's control. By contrast, Microsoft .NET supports over 20 languages from Microsoft and third parties, and Java will also be supported as a full-fledged language for the .NET platform. We believe that is a better definition of choice.
    • by dup_account ( 469516 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @02:39PM (#3131311)
      M$ has actually done a pretty good job of manipulating the whole Java thing. They new initially that IE would ide unless they included Java. But, the couldn't help themslves, and had to add proprietary M$ extensions.

      Then they jumped on the bandwagon of people trying to get Sun to release a standard for Java (and release control if it). But they weren't doing this because they felt that it would be good for consumers/customers. They wanted it standardized so that they could manipulate the statndard. Since Sun knew this, (and they don't have a monopoly) Sun had to do something to keep some control over Java so that M$ couldn't destroy it thru manipulation of the standard.

      (M$ C# doesn't have they problem, so M$ "standardized it". When will the first M$ only exstension appear? Since M$ holds a monopoly and can create a new defacto standard if anyone else comes close to competing they aren't worried. I'd love to see someone like Sun propose a change to the "standard" just to see M$ either use it's weight to block it, ignore the new standard, or what ever.

      Anyway, now M$ is trying to play all innocent and portray Sun as evil. But, in reality, M$ was successful in killing Java in the browser and are now trying to replace it with C#. Just trying to copy^h^h^h^hinnovate great technology.
    • I'm still convinced that Sun's whining is not necessarily the real reason XP doesn't ship with the the JVM. The way I see it, by not including the JVM, but including support for MS-only scripting technologies, they passively discourage third parties from implementing with Java. The reason is fairly straightforward, if you are John Q. User who just bought a computer with XP Home, and you go to a site which requires Java, are you going to wait 20 minutes for the JVM to download and install? Probably not, however, if you go to an alternative site which makes heavy use of MS technologies, you can just surf right on, and will likely bypass all Java-enabled sites entirely. If your website is e-commerce in any way, would you want to use a technology which puts obstacles between you and your customers' money.

      Microsoft's warning that the page won't display correctly if the JVM is not downloaded is similar to the error messages people got when they ran Windows 3.x on top of DR-DOS. It puts FUD into the users and steers them away from non-MS technologies.

    • While I'm in grave risk of being modded as a troll, I have to agree with Microsoft here.

      Their JVM is better than the other ones I've used, which are Kaffe and Sun's Java for Linux. I run Matlab 6, which compiled pure java. In spite of the better process protection protection et all on Linux, the Linux version spits out all kinds of java class errors, and is slow as the dickens, while on Windows 98 it runs much better (until Windows OS-rot sets in, of course). And I also have to agree that Sun is no paragon of openness, but the part about submitting .NET to ECMA is pure FUD.

  • The redress includes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by linzeal ( 197905 )
    Disclose and license proprietary interfaces, protocols and formats.
    Unbundle tied products like Internet Explorer, IIS and .NET framework.

    I think microsoft should be forced to release RFCs for anything proprietary that they use to extend their monopoly.

    I for one would be so so so glad to see IIS go away permanently. Has microsoft even begun a next generation "secure" implementation of IIS yet?

  • by atheos ( 192468 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @02:13PM (#3131121) Homepage
    Stright from MSNBC,
    Sun sues for 1 billion! []
  • Some more info...
  • by _typo ( 122952 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @02:13PM (#3131127) Homepage
    For an opinion about this antitrust issue and Microsoft's behaviour check Cringley's column this week. []
    • Gee, thanks PBS. I can't believe my tax dollars fund Mr. Cringley's bizare rant.

      Mr. Cringley recomends that the US government further reward Bill Gates by purchasing all of Bill's M$ stock for about $50,000,000,000. Is it my imagination, of did a PBS spokeman just compete with Hollywood exaduration in suggesting that tax payers give up one half of Doctor Evil's "one hundred billion dollars" extrotion? Wow, you would think that old Bill was sitting on top of a nuclear device at the world's core rather than a maker of second rate, insecure, invasive software. I've ranted that M$ was aiming for regulated monopoly status and is just another piece of evidence that the government might like it.

      No thanks, Mr. Cringley. I don't need M$ and I don't think it's worth the price you suggest. Microsoft deserves to be punished for it's bad business practices and lawsuits like this will do it. Software itself is something the government should stay out of.

    • I don't think I buy into his proposed remedy, but he's right about Gates worrying less about the PC market and more about shifting his monopoly into new areas. He's changing Windows licensing to squeeze out more short-term revenue, while creating an opening for Linux in the long-term.

      But I think Cringley underestimates the power of Microsoft's new enemies. AOL/TimeWarner, Sony, and Nokia are big, smart, and on to him. And the old enemies who are still standing (IBM, Oracle, and Sun) are just waiting for a sign of weakness.

  • by Sabalon ( 1684 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @02:15PM (#3131133)
    Okay...we all know that there are some beefs with MS and their way of doing things. I can even see the Sun whining about the fragmentation of Java (not that Sun isn't doing that well enough on its own - Java 2 version 1.x - yeah that makes sense.)

    But why oh why should MS have to include anything of Sun's in their OS? Okay...XP pulled out Java support. And now it really looks like Sun is complaining that the only way they can get Java everywhere is if MS is forced to include it.

    Still sounds like whining to me.
    • No, Sun's arguement about Java in XP is that Java used to be distributed by Netscape. Netscape was illegaly killed by MS. This protected MS's monopoly against Java. In order to redress this, MS should have to carry Java. I haven't read Sun's docs, but I imagine it goes down something like that.
    • I agree. Sun already sued them once, forced Microsoft to stop development on their own VM, and forced them to include Sun's version of the Java VM on distributed releases.

      Now, they're suing to what? Undo the previous agreement? I thought they had already settled that issue.

      Frankly, I think Microsoft might have a case for malicious prosecution in this instance.
  • 'bout freaking time (Score:2, Interesting)

    by the gnat ( 153162 )
    Steve Case spent years whining about MS and trying to get the government to act. I've heard he's an Ayn Rand-style libertarian most of the time. It's good to see Sun actually trying to do something about the problem instead of pushing the DoJ to watch its back. I think parts of the federal antitrust suit were legitimate, but this type of thing may be better worked out between the companies themselves.
  • pot calls kettle black.
  • Treble damages... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GSloop ( 165220 ) <networkguru.sloop@net> on Friday March 08, 2002 @02:19PM (#3131166) Homepage
    For all those of you just tuning in...

    If Sun wins the suit, they stand to get treble damages, because MS has already been found guilty of abusing a monopoly.

    Frankly, it's this type of stuff that's really going to put a serious drag on MS.

    I do wish the JD and GWB would actually DO somthing about MS, but it appears that they won't. Hopefully the states will be able to continue. The reason I want this, is it seems, well unseemly, that Sun et. al. use this forum to get MS. Sure, MS deserves it, but it's not like Sun wouldn't be doing the same thing, should they be in MS's position.

    It just seems better for the Gvmt to strike MS, and split the company. They should also levy massive fines, as the value of competing companies could have been very large - but instead they're bankrupt or playing the small time. (Think of DR-Dos, OS/2, Netscape, WordPerfect, Novell etc.)

    Why do I think splitting the co is the right action? Well, that way the Gvmt doesn't have to be invloved in the day-to-day activites of the company. The problem now, is that what benefits MS's is often not what benefits the customers. It's better for MS to keep the client locked to Windows, and locked to Office, as well as all the other "tightly-integrated" MS apps - think tightly-insecure!

    If the Office group were a separate company, then they wouldn't care who used office. Any copy sold was a buck in their pocket. So, port it anywhere it could sell decently. But right now, it's to their benefit (high stock-price, better profit sharing etc) to help sell Windows the OS. More Windows, more bucks. Don't sell office on other platforms that threaten Windows, because it cuts into your pay.

    By breaking the company into smaller function specific pieces, we can align the best interest of the company with those of the consumer. Ala - a MARKET based solution - stemming from necessasary Gvmt intervention. That's the way it should be.

    But, if our good old DOJ can't do it's job properly, I guess we'll just have to settle for a box or rats all biting each other to cut MS back to size. It's sure not pretty, but it'll probably help. I guess the guilty verdict is the the good thing to come out of this so far...

    • by Xannor ( 174984 )
      I used to think that splitting them would be as a good idea as well, but unless there was some deal between the two( or three) new miniMS's to allow the "free" sharing of code the whole business, OS/Apps/everythign would collapse. And since MAC is the only other viable destop solution for the masses, the PC market would actually collapse shorty there after. (Sure niches like linux woulse exist and the old software and hardware would be there but nothing new would happen for years.)

      I think forcing microsoft to release all current source code prior to win2k (including prior NT) to public, and requireing thm to fully document any new API's and file formats as public RFCs for a few years is a better idea.

      1) forcing the release of "old" code would not hurt XP as much since it would be a year before any "emulator" would be ready. Plus since MS touts Win2K and XP as rewrites there should be no complaints.

      2) forcing the release of APIs and file formats would allow current alternative OS's to keep up software compatability until the industry stabilizes.

      Course these are just my though, and I have a 512bit random number generator installed in my head.
      • Why do they need code sharing?

        It's not like the code for Office is really useful in the OS group - is it?!

        If you mean information sharing, that's exactly the problem. They should have to share information between their groups (OS/Applications) the same as outside competitors.

        Frankly, the PC OS/Apps market might just explode too. If you're in investor, why would you invest in the PC Apps space that MS might find interesting sometime soon. If they do, you might get bought, or MS might just decimate you. As an investor, that should make you nervous.

        If MS wasn't such a massive gorilla, then there probably would be lots more innovation and investment in the PC OS and Applications space. I think that this could be a huge boon, both for innovation and for choice.

        Perhaps you could explain yourself a bit better. I'm afraid that I'm misunderstanding you.

        • by Jobe_br ( 27348 )
          Not to mention that having the Mac become a dominant player in the market would not be a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. OS X appears to be quite secure, it even has much of Free/NetBSDs firewalling code in it, though apparently a GUI to configure it isn't available yet (look for it shortly, I imagine). It has an OSS base, its not Linux, but that's OK, too. Unless you're a hard core kernel junky, there's really nothing all too different between the open source BSDs and Linux (ignoring the license differences which again should only affect kernel junkies).

          OS X is an amazingly feature-rich system to use, Apple's push to make their desktop systems the center of 'your digital world' isn't JUST marketing hype - I've been using iTunes and iPhoto pretty extensively and I must say, neither app is lacking in anything that I've needed yet. My Rio500 hooks up perfectly with iTunes and my Olympus C-2100 UltraZoom hooks up perfectly with iPhoto. My efforts with Linux+gphoto were less than successful, I'm afraid, never mind the not-so-nice interfaces built for gphoto.

          Now, don't go flaming me right away. I love Linux - I have 4 PCs running some variant of Linux including my laptop which has been running Linux + VMware for the past 3 years. I just think as a desktop OS, OS X is very, very nice. Its stable (I've experienced exactly one kernel panic which I haven't been able to reproduce) and it has some kick-ass apps written for it already with more on the way.

          With Office v.X out for OS X, why couldn't the consumer live w/o Windows? I prefer quicktime to windows media player, OS X plays nicer on heterogeneous corporate networks than Windows does and not to put too fine a point on it, OS X is a whole lot easier to learn and a good bit more difficult to screw up than Windows has ever been. System files are protected so without consciously entering a system level authorization, you can't muck anything up too bad. For Windows gluttons who love all the shareware they can grab from C|Net, there's just as much written for OS 9/X that you can download from the 'Mac' category. The quality is just as dubious, so you should feel right at home :). For Linux zealots who can't or don't WANT to leave KDE/GNOME/Windowmaker/Enlightenment/etc. - don't fret. It runs fine in OS X. When I first installed it, I got the latest beta for E to run without any hitches, no sweat. There are even window managers that integrate your X apps seamlessly with OS X apps - sweet!

          I would truly like to see more Open Source folks jump on the OS X bandwagon. This is a great OS - don't abandon Linux by any means, but don't diss OS X - support Apple as you would support RedHat. They've got a great thing going here, I really believe that.
  • Microsoft pissed me off royally a while ago, in what I'm sure they would have called a "feature" but was probably, in reality, a way to counter Java somehow (even though this relates to JavaScript), or Netscape, or somebody. All it ended up doing for me was causing me unnecessary work.

    Several years ago I was responsible for creating the website for my Dad's company. Just a small business thing, a source for information on their products, manuals, etc. After a while we started thinking that it would be great to have something that could help his customers choose which model best met their needs (a procedure my dad would spend 15 minutes on the phone to do), so I coded up what I considered a very nice little JavaScript program to do that. Worked great and without problems for about 2 years or so until the "latest and greatest" version of IE came out which "just happened" to have changed some of the JS commands around, and the program no longer worked for IE users. The day I discovered that probleam was the day I downloaded IEradicator and I haven't missed it since. And, coincidently, my dad sold his business and I didn't have to be bothered by that problem anymore.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    At yesterday's conference call, Sun admitted that its sales are falling below expected "linearity". In other words, Sun is having trouble in exceeding last quarter's revenue.

    Sun is losing market share. Read " IBM claims win in bruising server battle []" As Sun's finances continue to sink, Sun will increasingly pursue lawsuits to boost its finances.

    As another sign of desperation, Sun recently announced that it, too, will sell Intel-based servers running Linux. To understand the level of desperation, we note that Sun has been touting itself as the SPARC-only shop for the last 15 years. Sun claimed that it would never resort to selling Intel-based servers.

    • As another sign of desperation, Sun recently announced that it, too, will sell Intel-based servers running Linux. To understand the level of desperation, we note that Sun has been touting itself as the SPARC-only shop for the last 15 years. Sun claimed that it would never resort to selling Intel-based servers.

      Which is the real joke here. Sun is crashing because of the competition from Linux, Microsoft is practically irrelevant to its market.

      Sun grew fat during the Internet dotcom craze because there were lots of VCs out there throwing obscene amounts of money arround. The VCs would typically demand that their companies applied the latest, sexiest technologies - regardless of whether there was a point. Some friends of mine had to recode their system from Lisp to Java just to please their VC.

      A lot of the startups were buying high end Sun gear because it pleased the VCs for whom Sun meant Java, meant 'sexy', meant a red hot IPO.

      Today their are two factors that are causing trade to shift from Solaris to Linux. First Linux is now sexier than Java. If your VC demands buzword compliance then Linux is fine. Second companies no longer have unlimited amounts to spend on unnecessary hardware. A company like Google that uses low cost Linux/Intel boxes is thought of much better than one that blows money on Sun gear that costs much more.

      Propietary UNIX is doomed. But Microsoft is not the reason, Linux is.

      The only proprietary UNIX vendor I would put much faith in long term is Apple. They do have a major base of desktop software and they are the only folk in UNIXland who appear to understand what a user interface is. But even Apple may well end up having to jetison the quasi-proprietary kernel and moving to an open source core some day.

      Sun's problems are not going to be solved even if they do force Microsoft to distribute Java. At this point .NET is rapidly becoming the hot issue for enterprise customers. While .NET has lots of hype features, the core advantage of .NET is it provides the means by which the WinTel market can transition from 32 bit x86 architecture to 64 bit Itanium.

      A company can transition to using the .NET CLI with a simple re-compilation. The Java VM requires them to rewrite their application, it is a non-starter as an Itanium migration strategy.

  • by ondelette ( 253185 ) <lemire.acm@org> on Friday March 08, 2002 @02:22PM (#3131188) Homepage
    You can't really take sides. For several reasons:

    On the one side:
    1) MS has offered a decent VM from the start.
    2) MS tried to screw people in adding uncompatible java calls (non-JNI) without labelling them properly. They were trying to break Java.

    On the other side:
    1) Sun VMs have taken a long time to match MS VMs in perfs.
    3) Sun hasn't done much good in client-side support. Java applications are memory-hungry and just slow. Chances are that MS would have done better.

    Hence, yes, Java has failed under Windows as a client application framework. Sun is to blame for that.

    Microsoft did play hardball, but this was settled a long time ago.

    Sun can't blame MS for Java's failures. Client-side Java failed under Linux too! Mozilla doesn't install Java by default!

    This would be a lot more interesting if Java had been an open technology, not something controlled by Sun.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I just hope this whole issue shines a bright light on yet another reason why open source is superior to closed source. There is a hell of a lot less litigation in the open source world. Hell, the most we can come up with is two companies taking the same database and claiming ownership.... pfft.
    • by Boomer2 ( 515406 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @02:59PM (#3131439)
      Sun VMs have taken a long time to match MS VMs in perfs.

      It's amazing that Sun's (or any other non-M$) VM could approach the M$ VM perf considering the proprietary hooks and low-level tricks M$ used to get that kind of performance.

      That's the basic sin of M$ that hurts the consumer: They ensure their monopoly of apps because they don't disclose the available APIs to get the best performance. They save those goodies only for themselves, then point fingers at how slow the other guy's app runs. NO KIDDING!! If I was able to pre-load all of my piece-of-junk apps so they open quickly then use tricks no one else can access to speed them up, I'd be doing well, too! No wonder that non-M$ apps stay slow...they only get the leftovers of the resources M$ apps hog!
      • It's amazing that Sun's (or any other non-M$) VM could approach the M$ VM perf considering the proprietary hooks and low-level tricks M$ used to get that kind of performance.

        Let's ignore for a moment the fact that Sun's 1.1 JVM had comparable performance with Microsoft's - how do you explain then that the JVMs Sun makes for Linux (open source, no hidden hooks or APIs) and Solaris (their own platform) aren't any faster? How do you explain the fact that IBM has consistently released JVMs that run faster than Sun's? How do you explain bugs like Integer division and modulo operations are 10 times slower on Hotspot []?

      • by spectecjr ( 31235 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @05:41PM (#3132635) Homepage
        It's amazing that Sun's (or any other non-M$) VM could approach the M$ VM perf considering the proprietary hooks and low-level tricks M$ used to get that kind of performance.

        You know what most of those proprietary hooks and low-level tricks are?

        Not using fopen and malloc to handle all of your memory management and file i/o.

        That's it. End of story.

        Use VirtualAlloc for memory management, and you'll get better perf.
        Use CreateFile with overlapped I/O or completion ports, and you'll get better perf.

        Basically, Sun writes their code to be ported, and MS writes it directly to their platform. Portable code = sucky performance. Live with it -- don't blame Microsoft because Sun don't tune their code.

  • In its suit, Sun is seeking preliminary injunctions requiring Microsoft to:

    • Distribute Sun's current binary implementation of the Java plug-in as part of Windows XP and Internet Explorer;
    • Stop distribution of Microsoft's Java Virtual Machine through separate downloads.

    Wow. It would be nice, but is there any way it could actually happen? We are talking Microsoft.
  • First Sun sued to require Microsoft to remove Java from Windows, now they are suing to require Microsoft to put it back in?

    Hmmf. The AOL lawsuit is going to result in Microsoft putting Netscape's management on trial to show that they caused Navigator to tank...and this trial is going to result in Microsoft putting Sun's management on trial to show that they caused Java to go astray.

    Forget the XFL...NBC should sell tickets to the software industry.

    - adam

    • Sun sued Microsoft to remove the Windows only extentions from thier Virtual Machine (hence breaking the Java API. Its in the Java license that you can't do that). Microsoft just decided "to hell with you" and removed the whole Virtual machine. It was the same story with Microsoft J++.
  • by slugfro ( 533652 )
    It looks like Sun has a good mindset in that they have seen little change in Microsoft's tactics:
    "While this suit is based on the past actions of Microsoft, Sun also believes that Microsoft's continuing practices in the marketplace represent a threat to lawful competition and the millions of developers who depend on the existence of an open software industry. This behavior manifests Microsoft's goal to use its monopoly position to turn the Internet into its proprietary platform. What is at stake here is the future of an open software industry and an open Internet," continued Morris.
    However, the demands of Sun seem a little absurd.
    In its suit, Sun is seeking preliminary injunctions requiring Microsoft to:
    • Distribute Sun's current binary implementation of the Java plug-in as part of Windows XP and Internet Explorer;
    • Stop distribution of Microsoft's Java Virtual Machine through separate downloads.
    Demanding that Microsoft be required by law to distribute Sun's own product is absurd. If this demand is approved by a court it may set a dangerous precident where the courts have the power to dictate how a company is run. I definitally agree that Microsoft has abused their power and should be punished but this is surely a dangerous method of remedy.
  • by GCP ( 122438 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @02:27PM (#3131227)
    MS's attitude was that there was no way they were going to allow Java to take over the Windows programming market in a way that might make Windows irrelevant underneath. They succeeded.

    Sun's attitude was that there was no way they were going to allow Java to become "just a better way to write Windows apps." They succeeded.

    As a result, Java is virtually irrelevant to Windows client app development, and since Windows is the vast majority of all "computer-scale" clients, Java is irrelevant for almost all client programming. Go team!

  • As a programmer, Sun and Microsoft matter to me only in that I need to be able to deliver products that are stable, fast and flexible.

    Which is why much of my previous Java programming on Win32 platforms used the MSFT runtime versus Sun's. Yes, I was coding myself into an evil-empire box, but that's what the client wanted, despite my warnings.

    One of the reasons I used the MSFT runtime was because it was fast-fast-fast, and it was much easier (at least for me) to instantiate windows, COM services, etc. than it was via straight-up J2EE.

    If I were Sun, what I would have done was NOT sued them to remove it, and NOT sue them now to put it back in ... but rather I would say "we can sue you ... or you can teach us how to improve our runtime on Win32 as well as other operating systems."

    Oh wait, I just snapped-back into reality .. I fofgot there are egos on both sides .. and much to be gained and lost financially and in terms of world domination.
  • Preliminary injunctions prior to trial requiring Microsoft to:
    Distribute Sun's current, binary implementation of Java Plug-in as part of Windows XP and Internet Explorer.
    Stop the unlicensed distribution of Microsoft's Java Virtual Machine through separate web downloads, instead of incorporating within Windows XP and Internet Explorer, in accordance with Jan. 23, 2000 settlement agreement.

    In other words seeks to undo in this Microsoft suit what it 'won' in its other Microsoft suit.

    Last I heard there was no law that said that Sun could decide what Microsoft distributes with their O/S.

    Essentially what Sun are demanding that the court do is to tie the distribution of Windows XP to a proprietary Sun product. Sun has consistently refused to allow other companies to extend Java in any way that Sun does not sanction. Meanwhile Sun are demanding that Microsoft be prevented from distributing their .NET CLI which competes against JVM.

    Jackson's rulling is not going to be as much use to sun in the suit as many here think. Sun can bring it up at the trial, great, but Microsoft can also bring up the fact that Jackson was dismissed from the case and his 'findings of law' thrown out by the appeals court for gross procedural violations, apparent and actual bias. They can also quote from the Appeals court judges statement that the fact that Jackson describes something as a finding of fact does not make it a finding of fact.

    All told I don't think that any sensible lawyer for the Plaintif would want to rely very heavily on the Jackson opinions. They are unlikely to have much weight with the judge and would be very likely to backfire in front of a jury. The appeals court rulings are much narrower.

  • What Sun Seeks (Score:2, Informative)

    by sqlgeek ( 168433 )

    Sun is seeking remedies that include:

    Preliminary injunctions prior to trial requiring Microsoft to:

    Distribute Sun's current, binary implementation of Java Plug-in as part of Windows XP and Internet Explorer.
    Stop the unlicensed distribution of Microsoft's Java Virtual Machine through separate web downloads, instead of incorporating within Windows XP and Internet Explorer, in accordance with Jan. 23, 2000 settlement agreement.
    Permanent injunction requiring Microsoft to:

    Disclose and license proprietary interfaces, protocols and formats.
    Unbundle tied products like Internet Explorer, IIS and .NET framework.

    Treble damages.

    Attorneys' fees.

  • by ektor ( 113899 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @02:39PM (#3131315)
    On January 23, 2001 Microsoft and Sun settled on the lawsuit about Microsoft shipping non-standard versions of Java. Part of the settlement was the following: "Sun has agreed to grant Microsoft a limited license to continue to distribute its current version of the software, provided that all future versions of such products pass Sun's compatibility tests. This part of the agreement lasts seven years. Beyond that date, Microsoft can not distribute Java technology or use any of Sun's intellectual property."

    Ok, so Microsoft can't distribute any Java after 2008. But Microsoft decided not to included the Java VM with Windows XP, kind of saying we don't need your stinking POS. Now, on this new lawsuit Sun asks among other things for: "Preliminary injunctions prior to trial requiring Microsoft to: Distribute Sun's current, binary implementation of Java Plug-in as part of Windows XP and Internet Explorer." Why don't they make up their fucking mind?

    It seems to me Sun is just looking for some money to pad their lackluster balance sheet. If you think Sun is doing any of this for the good of the public you should stop watching the Teletubbies.

  • The fact is - Sun's right. And Microsoft knows it.

    However, since justice belongs to the highest bidder in this crony capitalist country - I predict Microsoft will successfully defend themselves against these warranted charges.

    Naturally, this will employ tons of lawyers - and since they're tech lawyers, this is probably Good For The West Coast.

    [sorry about the prior post - hit the Enter key by mistake]
  • by DaoudaW ( 533025 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @02:45PM (#3131369)
    The lawsuit is not about java. Most of the complaints relate to workgroup servers, web-browsers and productivity suites.

    Does anyone know what became of the DR-DOS/Novell/Caldera complaint that Microsoft illegally tied the OS to the window manager (GUI)? I remember running Win95 on top of DR-DOS even though Microsoft claimed the window manager and OS were inextricably linked.
  • Let The Dinosaurs Tear Eachother Apart. It makes more room for small, rodent-like mammals to grow and evolve.

  • by weston ( 16146 ) <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Friday March 08, 2002 @03:17PM (#3131576) Homepage
    You know, as I understand it, the basic problem with Microsoft is that they use their market power to lock other people out, rather than compete with them.

    Netscape: Hey OEM! We have this product! It's great! It adds value to your system! We'll license it to you cheaply! Please bundle it!

    OEM: OK! Sounds Good!

    Microsoft: Hey OEM! We don't want you bundling this product. Stop it or else we'll yank your Windows license... or maybe you'll just lose your "discount".

    OEM(1): Yikes! We'll stop... hey, that IE 3.x product looks OK.

    OEM(2): I don't know, our customers really like Netscape... maybe we could display IE prominently and still include Netscape?

    Microsoft: Well, the price of producing Windows _is_ going up.... but you are a good customer, maybe we can work something out.

    So it's easy to see that at first, Microsoft didn't compete on quality or even simply bundle. They tried to lock Netscape out. To a great degree, they were succesful. Netscape lost licensing revenues and mindshare which might have been used to fund good development....

    But I don't see how this happened with Sun. Does Sun have contracts with OEMs to distribute JVMs or class libraries? Did they try, and were locked out? Or is it that they distributed with Netscape, and were locked out? Or are they still whining about incompatibilities with Microsoft's own terrible Java?

    I may not know the facts here, but I don't see how Sun is a victim in the same way that Netscape is, much as I think Microsoft's business practices are deplorable.

    • In addition to what's pointed out by others, MS promised (contractually) to deliver a fully functional Java VM. But the thing was broken in subtle and fatal ways that suggest some underhanded decisions. I did a little client-side java programming a year ago, and did the dev work on a Linux box. When I tested an app in Win98 and NT, I got a JVM error that one of the methods in the File class couldn't be found. This is like building an OS that's supposedly POSIX compliant, and just leaving out the stat(2) call. Needless to say, the only way to find which methods were unimplemented was to use them and then discover they don't exist.
  • by Mr. Storm ( 75926 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @03:19PM (#3131589)
    1) Several folks say the previous Sun suit was to get Java off Windows. I beleive it was to force MS to follow the contract and keep the MS version 100% compatible with the established standards. When MS LOST that suit, they decided to pull all support. If Sun didn't want Java on windows they wouldn't have licensed it to them in the first place.
    2) Did anyone consider that maybe the MS Java VM being faster than the Sun Java VM had something to do with MS not makeing their full APIs available for other companies to use? Just a thought.
  • by eples ( 239989 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @03:36PM (#3131719)
    After reading the ".NET Portion" of the complaint [], it occured to me that Sun may be implying that the new CLR (MS's Common Language Runtime) is based on the MS Java VM that Sun originally sued to keep from being used. From Section 184 of the complaint document:
    • 184. Microsoft's products in the middleware runtime market include Microsoft's implementation of the Java Runtime Environment and Microsoft's .NET Framework - the Common Language Runtime and .NET Framework classes. Sun competes in the market by offering its implementation of the Java Runtime Environment.

    IANAL, but it looks as if they are alledging that Microsoft built the CLR off of their "illegal" Java VM. I have to say, it *was* the first thing that entered my mind when I heard how the CLR functioned. Proving that they are one and the same (with many many many additions and modifications along the way) could be the thrust of this whole lawsuit - carefully buried in item #184 all the way at the end of the document.

    • Sun may be implying that the new CLR (MS's Common Language Runtime) is based on the MS Java VM

      As similar as they may seem, they have completely different origins. Read more here []:

      The origin of this new runtime environment lay in the little-noticed acquisition by Microsoft of Colusa Software in 1996. Co-founded by Steven Lucco, Colusa had released a product in 1995 called OmniVM based on research carried out by Lucco at Carnegie Mellon University. OmniVM was a virtual machine environment that offered two distinct advantages over early versions of Java. Firstly, by avoiding interpretation and using a virtual RISC architecture it provided near-native code execution performance. Secondly, it implemented robust 'application' isolation via a virtual memory manager. This made it a very safe environment for running 'legacy' and 'mobile' code. What caught Microsoft's eye was that, partly in order to support the porting of legacy code to the virtual environment, Colusa had produced both C/C++ and Visual Basic development environments.

      And here []:

      On March 12th of 1996, Microsoft bought Colusa Software, the maker of Omniware and OmniVM. For several years, Microsoft has been quietly developing Colusa's universal virtual machine and waiting for the right time to deploy it.

      And here []:

      Microsoft Research is developing a virtual machine, which it calls CVM, based on technology it acquired a couple of years back when it bought Colusa Software Inc. Colusa originally was building a run-time language similar to Visual Basic. But CVM goes beyond this; it will act as a virtual machine running on multiple platforms that can run programs written in C++, Visual Basic, Java and other languages.

  • by GPFCharlie ( 98543 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @04:21PM (#3132029)
    OK, first Sun and RealNetworks and everyone else was mad at Microsoft because they kept on bundling technology into Windows at the expense of competitors.

    NOW Sun is suing MS because MS isn't including their particular little technology into Windows?

    Stop the circle, I want to get off.

    Really, where else does this go? Can any company sue MS because they decided to not include something in their OS? I don't see any complaints that you can't install Java on your own, so any enterprise company that wants a Java solution on MS platforms can do it, it's just not bundled.

    This is a load of horse-shit IMHO. If you want to accuse MS of abusing its monopoly power by bundling technology in, then fine. But don't tell me that their competitors can dictate what non-MS technologies have to be included in an MS product! That's the exact opposite of a market system!

  • by Spoing ( 152917 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @04:28PM (#3132091) Homepage
    Here's the meaning of treble dammages to Microsoft.

    According to Microsoft's latest filings [], they have about $38,229,000 USD in either cash or short term investments. Corrections appreciated, but to me that sounds like moderately liquid assets.

    Let's say we forget about those additional assets awhile, and focus only on new profits. For the last four quarters ending in December 2001, they announced a total of $26.91 billion. This amount of profit is above the previous year by a minimum of 10% in each quarter.

    So, let's say that Microsoft looses two major cases -- Netscape (AOL/TW) and Sun -- and that the courts have no patience or mercy and award $2 billion each for a total of $12 billion. Let's also say Microsoft makes no effort to fight the settlement, and they fork up the $12 billion in installment payments over a span of 12 months.

    At the same rate as last year, keeping it at a modest 10% growth rate, MS's profit would have grown to around $29.60 billion or a little over $81 million a day.

    That means that at Microsoft's current rate, they would hand over the profit from the first 148 days of 2002 -- ending just before June kicks in.

    No doubt, that's a lot of ifs. Chances are any settlement will happen years from now, and will be much more modest. Also, this does not touch the short term investments and liquid assets -- only the new profits and only using the fictional example up till June.

    Corrections, additional calculations welcome.

    • So, let's say that Microsoft looses two major cases

      While I completely agree that Microsoft wields far too much power, I don't believe they have the means to let loose or release any cases against them. On the other hand, they could potentially fail to win their cases. The word you were looking for is loses.

      Congratulations! You have been participant #50 in my campaign to rid Slashdot of this error.

  • by N8F8 ( 4562 ) on Friday March 08, 2002 @06:13PM (#3132801)
    When comparing Sun to Microsoft.

    Sun want's to be a monopolist (or at least a market leader).

    Microsoft IS a monopolist.

    So behaviour in one company can be considered being competitive. In another anti-competitive.

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.