UPDATE: Day two in remedy hearing, MS comes out swinging

ITworld.com |  Government

A Microsoft Corp. attorney opened day two of the U.S. states' antitrust remedy hearing by attempting to show that Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java programming environment has not lived up to its promises.

During the remedy hearing, which is expected to last at least six weeks, District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly will hear arguments on remedy proposals from nine states and the District of Columbia, which have rejected the antitrust settlement proposed by Microsoft, the U.S. Department of Justice, and nine other states.

In its opening statement Monday, Microsoft made clear its plans to focus its evidence on Java and Netscape Communications Corp.'s Navigator browser and show that these middleware products were not victims of Microsoft anticompetitive behavior.

An appeals court last year upheld the district court's decision that Microsoft violated antitrust law by extending its monopoly in the desktop operating system market into the middleware market. The appeals court, however, overturned the remedies imposed by Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, which included a breakup of Microsoft, and sent the case back down to another district court judge.

Microsoft lawyer Steven Holley Tuesday morning showed the states' witness Richard Green, a Sun vice president and general manager of Java and XML software internal Sun documents that pointed out shortcomings of the company's Java technology. These shortcomings included the inability of Java in its different forms to run applications consistently, performance problems of Java running on desktop PCs, and customer complaints that Java is a proprietary technology.

An attorney for the states, Kevin Hodges, later questioned Green regarding Java's current position in the market, to which Green answered that the technology is suffering due to Microsoft's actions. Hodges also asked about Microsoft's omission of the Java Virtual Machine in Windows XP, a line of questioning that led Kollar-Kotelly to later warn the states that she may consider the topic to be beyond the scope of the case.

Green refuted many of Holley's assertions, saying that comments from Sun's internal memos were taken out of context, or were inconsistent with Green's own perceptions.

At one point Holley read form a Sun document that said Sun itself doesn't use Java in many of its own internal applications.

"This statement I believe is inaccurate," Green said.

When asked to explain a Sun document saying the company should take advantage of Microsoft's decision to exclude the Java virtual machine from Windows XP to expose Microsoft's unfair business practices, Green responded that Sun was making lemonade from lemons.

Microsoft's decision regarding Windows XP, which Green claims violated a contract between the two companies, has "damaged drastically Java's success on the desktop."

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