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McNealy blasts Microsoft

The Harvard-sponsored Conference on Internet and Society turns into a Microsoft-bashing session of sorts.

A Cambridge, Massachusetts-based conference intended to explore the implications of the Net explosion on society has turned into a Microsoft-bashing session of sorts.

Following yesterday's appearance by Oracle's flamboyant chief executive Larry Ellison, Sun Microsystems' chief Scott McNealy peppered his discussion today at Harvard University with frequent digs at the Redmond, Washington-based software giant.

Given the current Justice Department action See special report: Microsoft sued against Microsoft and an accompanying Java-based suit brought by Sun, it is no surprise that two vociferous rivals would use their time at the conference to make their case that Bill Gates and company need to be reined in, especially given the Net-oriented nature of the firm's legal troubles.

McNealy broke little new ground in his discussion on the second day of the Harvard University-sponsored Conference on Internet and Society, but an overriding theme was clear--the Net needs standards to continue to grow and his company, using a "pure" form of the Java programming language, wants to be part of that evolution.

McNealy also said the Net would remain the primary petri dish for these standards to develop and be disseminated. "With the Web taking over and taking charge, standards are getting set on the Web," he said.

McNealy also used the occasion to remark on the DOJ's action against Microsoft, which Sun supports.

"Choice--that's what it's all about," he said. "The long-term outcome [of the DOJ lawsuit] should be that you'll have a choice on your desktop."

"What is it about zero--free--that is not predatory pricing?" he added. "It is by definition."

Microsoft's Internet Explorer browsing software is at the center of the current legal firestorm, with inclusion of the program with the company's operating system forming the crux of the antitrust action.

"It should be case closed," McNealy said. "The judge should say: 'done.'"