Microsoft to get more time to fix its Java

Microsoft is likely to be given extra time to comply with a US court order requiring it to make changes to key software products that include Sun Microsystems' Java technology, officials from both companies said today.

Under terms of a preliminary injunction issued by the court in November, Microsoft had been given 90 days to make changes to Internet Explorer, Windows 98 and other products so that they pass Sun's Java compatibility tests.

As it took steps to comply with the order, Microsoft argued that it needed more time -- as much as an extra 120 days in the case of some products -- to make all the changes requested.

At a recent hearing before Judge Ronald Whyte of the Federal District Court in California, lawyers from each company agreed on a list of Microsoft products that the software giant will be given extra time to alter, Sun spokeswoman Lisa Poulson said.

"I think we reached an agreement on almost everything," Poulson said, although the companies are still haggling over details pertaining to a few products covered by the order, she added.

While Whyte didn't actually issue an order today, he agreed in principle to grant the extensions for products that were agreed upon between the companies, said Poulson and Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan.

Microsoft is being sued by Sun for allegedly breaching its Java licensing contract by using an incompatible version of Java in its products. The suit also accuses Microsoft of illegally using its market strength to induce software developers and other third-parties to adopt its supposedly incompatible version of Java.

Following initial court hearings in October, Judge Whyte determined that Sun was likely to win its lawsuit based on the merits and issued the preliminary injunction against Microsoft. Microsoft denies all charges and says it will prove its innocence when the case comes to a full trial -- expected later this year.

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James Niccolai

PC World

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