7 February 2002 Systems vendor Sun Microsystems is considering whether to file a new lawsuit against software giant Microsoft. Executives at Sun believe that Microsoft used its dominant position in operating systems and development tools to try to restrict competition from Sun’s Java programming environment.
It would be the latest in a long line of litigation against Microsoft and it would not be the first time Sun has sued the Redmond, Washington State-based company. For four years, the two companies fought a bitter legal battle over Sun’s charge that Microsoft had subverted Java in its Visual J++ product, so that applications built with it would only work on its Windows operating system.
Java is an object-oriented programming language that enables software developers to write applications that can be run on a wide range of systems with little modification. The case was finally settled in January 2001 with Microsoft paying Sun $20 million (€23.1m) and agreeing to the termination of its license to use Java.
Partly as a result of that case, Microsoft has refused to bundle a Java interpreter with its new Windows XP operating system or with new versions of its Internet Explorer web browser, much to the chagrin of Sun.
Separately, in the on-going anti-trust case against Microsoft, the company was found to have illegally tried to crush competition from Java. And, at the end of January 2002, AOL-Time Warner filed a lawsuit against Microsoft for damage inflicted on its Netscape software unit during the so-called browser wars.