Sun says Microsoft tried Java hijack
But the question is, did the contract say this was OK?
Sun JavaSoft president Alan Baratz yesterday accused Microsoft of trying to hijack Java by producing a divergent version dependent on Microsoft tools and technology. Testifying on day two of Sun's lawsuit against Microsoft, Baratz said that Microsoft was in breach of its licensing agreement, which is of course the nub of the problem. On Tuesday Microsoft said that during the licensing negotiations it had repeatedly made it clear to Sun that it intended to modify Java, while Sun says the agreement says Microsoft can't do this. Hijacking Java may be nefarious and a matter for antitrust suits, but if the agreement says Microsoft is allowed to do this, then there isn't a lot the Sun case judge can do about it. But according to Baratz's testimony, it may be that the two companies' curious inability to agree on what the licence actually says may derive from the way the negotiations originated. Baratz said that the original talks stemmed from Microsoft's desire to include Java in Internet Explorer simply to match NetScape Navigator. So Microsoft would initially have been thinking in terms only of a limited use of Java, and this would square with Microsoft's early lack of enthusiasm for Java. Baratz however did add that the negotiations evolved to cover the inclusion of Java in a broader range of Microsoft products, resulting in the situation today. Somewhere along the line, fuzz may therefore have crept into the legalese that the contract consists of. ®
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