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Sun fights Microsoft's Java appeal

A court order forcing Microsoft to distribute its rival's Java software is necessary to preserve competition, Sun tells a federal appeals court.

A court order forcing Microsoft to distribute Sun Microsystems' Java software is necessary to preserve competition, Sun told a federal appeals court in a legal brief.

Sun is trying to convince the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals not to step into the antitrust case and instead leave an injunction from a Baltimore federal judge intact. Microsoft has appealed that order from U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz, who last week gave the company 120 days to begin including Sun's Java runtime environment in every copy of its Windows operating system and Internet Explorer browser.

"Microsoft's unsupported claim that its next shipping date for Windows may be adversely affected, absent a stay, is similarly unconvincing in light of the order's 120-day period for compliance," Sun said in a 25-page filing late Tuesday. "The order does not require Microsoft to ship the (Java runtime environment) in any product until June 4, two months after the proposed expedited hearing date."

Sun has sued its competitor for $1 billion, claiming Microsoft tried to thwart the commercial success of Java in hopes of establishing its .Net software as an alternative. "The district court found that Microsoft's anticompetitive acts are tipping the market toward .Net," Sun said.

Microsoft has argued that a previous appeals court, in the antitrust case brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and some state attorneys general, reviewed its approach to Java and found no wrongdoing.

In its emergency request to the 4th Circuit, Microsoft asked the appeals court to place Motz's order on hold, calling it "extreme and unprecedented."

The case is a private antitrust lawsuit that is not related to the federal and state suit brought against Microsoft in Washington, D.C. Two states, Massachusetts and West Virginia, have appealed that settlement.