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Microsoft asks for Java extension

Redmond wants 120 days to comply with a preliminary injunction requiring it to modify software that includes Sun's Java.

    Microsoft asked the U.S. District Court in San Jose, California, to extend the time it has to comply with a preliminary injunction requiring it to modify software that includes Sun's Java programming language.

    On Friday, the software giant petitioned Judge Ronald Whyte for 120 days to comply with the court's order, issued on November 18. Originally it was given 90 days.

    In two related motions, Microsoft asked See related story:
Microsoft's holy war on Java for an expedited hearing on its motion for an extension, suggesting January 8, and asked to have the preliminary injunction clarified so that it would be able to distribute "independently developed" technology.

    Microsoft needs time to clean up the Java code in a few of the more than 1,000 products it markets, explained spokesman Jim Cullinan. Any product that uses components of Internet Explorer, Microsoft's Web browser, needs to be changed, he said.

    Sun Microsystems, which created the Java programming language, filed a lawsuit against Microsoft in October 1997 accusing the company of violating the terms of a licensing agreement. In granting Sun's request for an injunction, Judge Whyte found that Sun was likely to prevail and he enjoined Microsoft from shipping products containing Java unless modified to Sun's approval.

    Microsoft was also forbidden from advertising its software as containing "official" Java. The software giant was further required to notify customers of the order.

    According to Sun, Microsoft's request for an extension was accompanied by declarations from PC manufacturers describing the time-consuming process of modifying product distribution. Most PCs ship with Microsoft's Windows 98 operating system, which contains Microsoft's implementation of Sun's Java.

    Sun said in a statement it is willing to cooperate with Microsoft "to get a full understanding of what's involved in their request for additional time to comply with the order."

    The Palo Alto, California, company seemed to draw a firmer line on Microsoft's request to be able to ship "independently developed" software. "Our contract with Microsoft requires any product independently developed by Microsoft that performs the same or similar functions as the Java technology to pass Sun's compatibility test suites prior to its commercial distribution," the statement said.

    Sun alleges that Microsoft's Java implementation fails to pass compatibility tests required in its licensing agreement, and that Microsoft "sabotaged" Sun's Java programming language by adding Windows-dependent extensions, or programming capabilities, in violation of the license.

    Microsoft argues that the contract permitted the modifications and that its products run "cross-platform" versions of Java better than any other implementation, including Sun's.

    Last week, Microsoft filed a notice of appeal, giving it 28 days to file an appeal brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The brief will argue that the preliminary injunction should be overturned.