Microsoft to appeal Sun Java injunction

Microsoft has begun the process of appealing a preliminary injunction awarded to Sun Microsystems in its Java technology lawsuit against the software maker.

The injunction, awarded by a California district court last month, required Microsoft to make changes to the Java technology in several of its products, including Windows 98 and its Internet Explorer Web browser, so that they would pass Sun's Java compatibility tests.

Microsoft filed a notice of appeal with the Federal District Court in San Jose, California, and has 28 days to file its appeal brief with the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.

The preliminary injunction awarded to Sun was viewed by many as a major blow to Microsoft, which stands accused by Sun of "polluting" its Java programming language in order to compromise the technology's ability to create programs that run on any operating system.

Microsoft did this, according to Sun, because it viewed the technology as a threat to its operating systems business.

Microsoft denies the charges.

"Microsoft is appealing the District Court's preliminary ruling because Microsoft does not believe any preliminary injunction should have been ordered," said Tom Burt, associate general counsel for Microsoft, in a prepared statement.

"We are confident that Microsoft has developed the best Java implementation within the terms of our contract with Sun and in the best interests of Java developers and consumers."

Microsoft said it will comply with the District Court's ruling while waiting for the appeal to be heard. The company was given 90 days from the date the injunction was granted to make the changes to its products.

Sun officials said they won't be able to comment in any detail on Microsoft's appeal until it lays out its argument against the injunction in the brief it will file with the appeals court.

"Obviously the judge's ruling on this was very thorough and very tightly reasoned, and it'll be interesting to see how they structure their appeal," said Sun spokeswoman Lisa Poulsen. "We'll just have to wait and see."

Sun officials weren't surprised that Microsoft decided to appeal the ruling, Poulsen said.

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