Microsoft to stop offering host of older products

Microsoft Corp. will stop distributing several older products next week as a result of a legal settlement with Sun Microsystems Inc. in a dispute over Java, Microsoft said.

Among the products that Microsoft will cut from its distribution channels on Dec. 15 are all versions of Windows 98 except Windows 98 Second Edition; Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server Edition; all Office 2000 editions; Office XP Developer edition and SQL Server 7, Tony Goodhew, a product manager in Microsoft's developer division, said Monday.

"There is a list of products that we can no longer ship as of Jan. 2, 2004, because they include a version of the Microsoft virtual machine that we are no longer able to distribute as part of our settlement with Sun," Goodhew said.

Java is a programming language that allows developers to write applications that can run on any computer regardless of its operating system. Microsoft's virtual machine allows users to run Java applications on Windows PCs. Other vendors, including Sun, also make virtual machines for Windows.

By the end of the year Microsoft will release updated versions of some of its products without the virtual machine, so that it can continue to distribute them, Goodhew said. They are the Workstation, Server and Enterprise Server editions of Windows NT 4.0; Office XP Professional Edition with FrontPage; Small Business Server 2000; ISA Server 2000 and Publisher 2002, he said.

The companies settled a three-year-old breach of contract lawsuit in January 2001 that Sun had filed against Microsoft. Sun, creator of Java, had accused Microsoft of violating a licensing and distribution agreement by distributing a version of Java that was not compatible with Sun's.

As part of the settlement, Microsoft paid Sun US$20 million and agreed to a plan to retire products that included its allegedly incompatible Java distribution.

Earlier this year, Microsoft and Sun agreed to extend another deadline related to the settlement. The agreement allowed Microsoft to continue supporting its virtual machine until Sept. 30, to give its customers more time to stop using the software. However the Redmond, Washington, vendor decided to phase out the products now.

"As part of our settlement and license extension with Sun, we can only modify the Microsoft virtual machine until Sept. 30, 2004," Goodhew said. "After that date we will not be able to modify the virtual machine for any reason, including security. We will not ship products that include a piece of software we cannot provide security fixes for."

Though the products will no longer be available in the channel or for download from Microsoft's Developer Network (MSDN), current users will still be able to use them, Goodhew said. Also, users can continue to buy licenses for the products, for example to install it on more computers from a current CD or a corporate network, he said.

"This is not making anyone upgrade. If you are a company and you decide that you need another Windows 98 license for some reason, you will be able to get another license," he said.

The full list of products that Microsoft will retire from the channel as of Dec. 15, according to a posting in a Microsoft news group, are: Office XP Developer; Visio 2000; BackOffice Server 2000; Office 2000 Developer; Office 2000 Tools; Office 2000 Multilingual; Office 2000 Premium SR-1; Office 2000 Service Pack 2; Outlook 2000; Project 2000; SQL Server 7; SQL Server 7 Service Pack 3; Embedded Visual Tools 3.0; Visual Studio 6 MSDE; Internet Explorer 5.5; MapPoint 2002; Visual Studio 6.0 SP3 and SP5; Windows 98; Windows 98 Y2K; Windows 98 Resource Kit; Windows 98 SP1; Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server and Option Pack; ISA Server 2000 and Visual Basic for Alpha Systems.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joris Evers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?