Currently there are two versions of Java; the one that Sun Microsystems has developed into a widely recognized standard, and the one Microsoft offers, which differs enough for the Sun version so as to make many Java apps written for one not work with the other. This has been described as part of Microsoftis Embrace and Extend strategy of "embracing" standards, and then "extending" their capabilities in Windows so as to eliminate the benefit of having the standard in other platforms. Because of this, Sun sued Microsoft for violating its licensing agreement for Java many years ago, and won, forcing Microsoft to only use the 100% compliant version of Java in Windows.
After Microsoftis sweetheart deal with the Bush administrationis DoJ, the company announced it was dropping Java from Windows XP. This made the 100% compliance issue moot, and forced users to download a Java installer in order to see Java content on the Internet, or to work with Java apps. This was haled as major setback in Java development, as many consumers choose not to hassle with the downloads, and as Microsoftis monopoly power in the OS market was then exclusively being used to perpetuate Microsoftis competing technology called C# (C-Sharp) and its related .Net platform.
Sun decided to take Microsoft to court as a convicted monopolist over its Java tampering and had won an early round last week when Judge J. Fredrick Motz ruled in favor of Sun. The judge issued a temporary injunction forcing Microsoft to distribute Java with Windows XP while the court case was being fought. In addition, the court ordered Microsoft to use an up-to-date version of Java for Windows, as opposed to a much older one that doesnit include many current features.
While the ruling lends substance to Sunis case against Microsoft, the playing field is not totally leveled as of yet; Microsoft has announced that it will appeal the ruling according to an article in CMPnet.Asia. From the article Microsoft to appeal Sunis Java injunction :
A Microsoft spokesman said the company is "disappointed" with its early review of the Courtis decision. "After our initial review, we do intend to appeal this injunction and will ask the Appeals Court to hear it on an expedited basis," he said.
U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz handed down a preliminary injunction against Microsoft as part of a hearing that started on December 2. The ruling calls for Microsoft to begin offering the most current version on Sunis Java software in Windows operating systems, but details about delivery logistics and schedules are still to be worked out.
Lee Patch, Sunis vice president of strategic litigation, said during a conference call today that the Court has ordered Sun and Microsoft to hold meetings over the holiday period to determine recommendations for a distribution strategy However, Patch acknowledged he was unsure how a Microsoft appeal would factor into those plans.
"The decision helps ensure that current, compatible Java technology will be included on every consumer desktop and put an end to Microsoftis practice of fragmenting the Java platform," said Rich Green, Sun vice president of developer tools.
Green believes Sun will see a significant boost in its Web services initiatives if Microsoft is required to include an updated version of Java in Windows. The current version of Java Microsoft makes available is "five or six years old," he said. "Itis missing many of the features relative to end-to-end networking."
If Microsoft ships the current version of Java, rich with Web services features, he added, "Java will realize the largest volume over any other developer platform in the world."
Read the full article at CMPnet Asia.