Microsoft Wins Round in Java Fight

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Microsoft is free again to ship its own Windows version of Java, the network-centric programming language that has largely been championed as an alternative to Windows dominance. Yesterday a federal appeals court overturned a November order that had forced Microsoft to stop distributing its Java.

Still, Java developer and plaintiff Sun Microsystems took the bright side of the ruling. Sun argues that the Microsoft version of Java is "polluted" with Windows-specific features, breaking a 1996 license from Sun that requires Microsoft to honor Java's goal of compatibility across different operating systems. The three judges of the U.S. Appeals Court for the Ninth Circuit appeared sympathetic to the claim, but ordered the lower court to rework its injunction to justify the finding of a potential copyright infringement. If the case is a simple breach of contract, as Microsoft has sometimes maintained, the injunction would probably have to wait for the outcome of a pending trial. U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte granted the injunction after ruling that Microsoft's Java could have caused "irreparable harm" to Sun. MORE >>