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Court delays Microsoft order

The mandate that Microsoft add Java to Windows is put on hold while an appeal is considered.

© St. Petersburg Times
published February 4, 2003

SEATTLE -- An appeals court Monday delayed an order requiring Microsoft to include Sun Microsystem's Java programming language in its Windows operating system.

The decision came the day before the lower-court order was to take effect, requiring Microsoft to include the latest version of Java in its Windows XP software within 120 days.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., stayed the order while it considers Redmond-based Microsoft's appeal.

"We believed all along it was appropriate that this matter be decided by the circuit court before we move forward with implementing the injunction," said Jim Desler, a Microsoft spokesman.

Sun Microsystems continues to press a $1-billion antitrust lawsuit alleging that Microsoft used its alleged monopoly power in desktop computer software to hurt Java.

The technology is designed to let software run on different operating systems.

Last month, a federal judge in Baltimore ordered Microsoft to include Java. U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz granted a two-week delay before the order was to take effect to give Microsoft time to appeal.

In a statement, Sun Microsystems said it regretted Monday's ruling, adding that the lower-court order would "benefit consumers and . . . the Java community's developers, enterprises and system vendors."

Earlier Monday, Microsoft issued an update for Windows XP that stripped out its own version of Java technology. Sun complained that that version was outdated, and the differing versions made it difficult for programmers to rely on the technology.

Microsoft had laid out plans to make Sun's technology available through downloads, CDs and updates in time to meet the judge's 120-day deadline. The appeals court's stay puts those efforts on hold.

Shares of Sun Microsystems closed up 10 cents, or 3 percent, at $3.19 on the Nasdaq Stock Market after the regular session. Shares fell 2 percent in after-hours trading.

Microsoft shares gained 6 cents in extended trading, after closing the regular session up $1.10 at $48.56.

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