Ahead of its showdown with Sun Microsystems Inc Friday in US District Court in San Jose over use of the Java compatible logo, Microsoft Corp took the opportunity to play down Sun’s participation in the deal with Tele Communications Inc that saw TCI license both Windows CE and Java (CI No 3,324). Microsoft chief financial […]
Ahead of its showdown with Sun Microsystems Inc Friday in US District Court in San Jose over use of the Java compatible logo, Microsoft Corp took the opportunity to play down Sun’s participation in the deal with Tele Communications Inc that saw TCI license both Windows CE and Java (CI No 3,324). Microsoft chief financial officer Greg Maffei said that TCI paid Sun nothing for the option to use a Java development layer in its next-generation set-top box and will pay them a minimal amount per box – believed to be about $1 – if it does use Java. Maffei reckons that very few Java boxes will even ship, as the basic TCI box has no room for the Java layer. Each Java box would cost an extra $10-$12 as a result of the added memory necessary, and Maffei seems to believe that is prohibitive enough for mainstream adoption. He also pointed out that since CE is guaranteed in at least five million of the boxes, and there’s no guarantee of a Java presence, it’s a no-brainer that developers are going to concentrate on CE. Friday’s hearing concerns Sun’s request for a preliminary injunction which would prohibit Microsoft’s use of the Java logo until the case is ultimately decided, something Microsoft’s legal counsel doesn’t see happening until next year at the earliest. Sun originally brought charges against Microsoft in October claiming its had breached terms of its Java licensing agreement by shipping the Java Development Kit 1.1 in Internet Explorer 4.0, without certain key communication programs, while adding others which are specific to the Windows environment (CI No 3,263). Microsoft retaliated and counter-sued Sun. Sun is also looking for $35m in damages from Redmond for allegedly shipping the Java source code with JDK 1.1. The hearing will see each side present its case for 20 minutes. The judge is expected to rule on the preliminary injunction as early as next week. Microsoft says that even if Sun is granted the injunction, it only involves removing the logo from outer packaging of the retail version of IE Plus, and should have no tangible effect on its Java business in general. Redmond says the entire Java market last year was only $52m – less than its Flight Simulator business – and has seen a general decline since the lawsuit was initiated. It figures to have about 40% of the market for Java development tools and sees moderate growth in that business this year. Calls to Sun’s JavaSoft division for comment were not returned.