Sun Seeks Injunction of Windows 98

(May 13, 1998)  Sun Microsystems filed two motions in the U.S District Court in San Jose which is hearing its Java suit against Microsoft.  Sun says that the motions seek to enjoin Microsoft from distributing Windows 98.  The contents of the motions are not widely known -- they were filed under seal.

Sun Microsystems filed suit against Microsoft last October 8 alleging that Microsoft violated their 1996 licensing agreement.  Microsoft had labeled and promoted its MSIE 4.0 and Java development software as Java Compatible.  Sun asserted that Microsoft Java products had failed its compatibility tests, and were thus in violation of the agreement.

Federal District Court Judge Ronald Whyte issued a Preliminary Injunction on March 24, in the suit Sun Microsystems v. Microsoft.  The order bars Microsoft from using the Java Compatible Logo on its Internet Explorer 4.0 and Java development software.  The ruling did not enjoin Microsoft from selling any software products.

Related Pages

Sun Microsystems Press Release, 5/12/98.
Microsoft Press Release, 5/12/98.
Story: Judge Enjoins Microsoft in Java Suit, 3/25/97.
Preliminary Injunction, 3/24/97.

Sun issued a press release on May 12 which described the motions as follows: "Sun asked the court to require that each copy of Windows98 having JavaTM content ship with a compatible implementation of the Java platform, ensuring that Windows users have access from Microsoft to the same modern, network-based computing environment that is now available on most other computers."

"Never mind what's going on in the press: Microsoft is apparently taking no chances with Java.  For the second year in a row, its Java environment was the fastest and most compatible on our tests.  And it wins our Editors' Choice. ...   Microsoft's environment under both platforms turned in a compatibility success rate of 70 percent; Windows 95 and Windows NT each failed to run only one applet.  This score is almost 17 percent better than those of the Sun environments. ... IE 4.0's top performance and compatibility are ironic given Sun's lawsuit ..."

PC Magazine, April 7, 1998 issue, page 146.

Sun's press release continued: "'Our goal is simply to ask the court to define a level playing field that developers can rely on during the time it takes for the court to fully deliberate our contract dispute with Microsoft,' said Alan Baratz, president of Sun's Java software division. 'We'd be gratified to settle this matter at any time, but until that happens, we believe it is important to look at Windows98 as a delivery vehicle for Java technology and to make sure that, at a minimum, there are at least as many copies of a fully compatible Java implementation in the marketplace as there are copies of Microsoft's incompatible technology.'"

"Sun has also asked the court to bar Microsoft from shipping its software tools for the Java programming environment unless they generate only fully compatible Java software."  (Sun press release.)

Microsoft also issued a press release on May 12.   It did not describe the legal claims contained in the motions, but said that the motions were "without merit" and that "this action is a deliberate attempt by Sun to use the courts and the upcoming release of Windows 98 to gain a marketing opportunity at the expense of consumers and developers."

"Sun's motion completely misses the mark because Windows 98 continues Microsoft's commitment to deliver the best implementation of Java to developers and the marketplace," said Brad Chase, Microsoft's VP for Developer Relations and Marketing in the press release. "Windows 98 is the result of listening to our customers and consumers and providing new functionality which improves people's lives."