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Microsoft, Sun struggle in suit

New motions by Microsoft and Sun Microsystems could delay a decision in the Java licensing case.

New motions by Microsoft and Sun Microsystems could delay a decision in the San Jose, California, case stemming from Microsoft's license for the Java programming language.

Both parties asked U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte not to release certain documents in the case that had been reviewed by a special master. Whyte has said he wants the documents released before he rules in the case.

Sun sued Microsoft in October 1997 for breach of contract, alleging that Microsoft's Java implementation failed to pass compatibility tests required in its licensing agreement. Sun said it wants a court order to force Microsoft to alter Java features in its software.

Microsoft requested that the judge keep "financial information" in specific documents about Microsoft, as well as parties not involved, in the lawsuit, a spokeswoman said. She said the request affects "a miniscule part" of documents still sealed in the case.

A Sun spokeswoman said the company had reiterated its earlier motion objecting to the criteria used by a special master in deciding which documents should be released.

After objections by media companies to sealing all the evidence in the trial, Whyte named a special master to review the documents before they were released to assure they do not disclose certain information.

Some documents cited in written and oral arguments by both sides have already been released by the special master.