Sun's shares climbed as high as 69.8125 in early trading but ended the day at 66.6250, a fraction off from yesterday's close of 66.6875.
Meanwhile, Microsoft's shares fell as low as 109.1250 in early trading, finishing at 109.7500, down from its close of 111.8750 yesterday.
A federal court yesterday granted an injunction against Microsoft over its use of Java--a programming language designed to allow programmers to write code once and run on any platform. The court ordered Microsoft to change its Java technology, which it licenses from Sun, to be compatible with Sun's test suite. The software giant has 90 days to change these products, the court ruled.
"This ruling is adding more fuel to the fire for Sun's stock," said Brian Eisenbarth, an analyst with Collins & Co. "Although I think the ruling had a positive effect on the stock, the company's recent quarterly results were above expectations and that has given the stock most of its momentum."
Indeed, Sun's shares have steadily climbed since mid-October from the low 40s.
However, if the court had ruled against Sun, Ted Kunzog, an analyst with LaSalle Street Capital, believes its stock would have taken a hit, and he's not surprised Microsoft is down today.
"This court decision is probably more of a blow to Microsoft than it's a benefit to Sun. Microsoft will have to change their products and that's a necessary cost going forward," he said. "Java right now contributes a small portion of Sun's revenue stream."
Analysts, note, however, that although Microsoft may incur some additional costs due to the court ruling, it apparently won't have a material impact on Microsoft's operations.
"If Microsoft felt it was material, then they would have held an analysts conference," said Steve Shepich, an analyst with Olde Discount.
Analyst David Wu, with ABN Amro, summed up the court's decision this way: "It's a battle between the Christians and the lions. The Christians won the first round, but the lions will be back for the feeding."