Microsoft is paying Sun Microsystems US$20 million to settle a
lawsuit initiated in 1997. In addition, Microsoft is banned from
the unauthorized use of the JAVA COMPATIBLE trademark and has
accepted Sun's termination of the prior license agreement.
Sun has said it will continue to support existing Microsoft
commercial products based on the outdated Java Development Kit
(JDK) 1.1.4 platform for the next 7 years. The current version is
The issue resolved revolved around the coding language Java,
popularized on its promise of "write once, run everywhere" the same
code is promised to work on all operating systems because it is
dynamically interpreted by the Java Virtual Machine within an
operating system, instead of pre-compiled like, for example, C++.
The language also supports a wide variety of hardware platforms,
from servers to PCs to PDAs to Smart Cards.
Given the range of development options made available to those
who learn the technology, and the fact that it's free, many
programmers have adopted the language: over 3 million versions of
the Java 2 software development kit have been downloaded and Sun
claims Java has between a 75%-90% share of the application server
In 1996 Microsoft obtained a license from Sun to use the Java
technology, part of the license agreement being that Microsoft
would deliver only compatible implementations of the
According to Stefano Mattiello, Managing Director of Sun
Microsystems South Africa Microsoft simply didn't update it's
version, sticking to the JDK 1.1.4 version, and so ensuring
Windows-only compatibility, in an example of Microsoft's "Embrace
and Extend" philosophy.
Mattiello said that Sun will continue to support the Windows
operating system. Microsoft could regain their JAVA COMPATIBLE seal
and a new licensing agreement, he says, but it is up to Microsoft
to demonstrate trustworthiness and support the entire Java
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