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Microsoft Wins Cup Of Java

Microsoft won a victory Monday in its battle with Sun Microsystems over the Java programming language as a federal judge dismissed Sun's claim that Microsoft had broken copyright laws.

Sun had sued Microsoft for designing a Windows-only version of Sun's Java technology, which was incompatible with other software. Sun said it represented both copyright infringement as well as a breach of their licensing contract.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte said the dispute was solely a contractual one.

"The language and structure of the Technology Distribution and License Agreement suggest that the compatibility obligations are separate covenants and not conditions of, or restrictions on, the license grants," Whyte said.

Sun's breach-of-contract claims against Microsoft are still pending.

Java, promoted by Sun as a universal programming language, allows developers to write a software application once and have it run on a variety of computers, regardless of the underlying system.

Mark Murray, a spokesman for Microsoft, said his company was "obviously pleased" with Whyte's ruling.

"The ruling supports Microsoft's position that this is really just a contract dispute between two large and sophisticated companies and not some sort of copyright case," he said. "There are still a number of other issues yet to be resolved in this case."

Phone calls seeking comment from Sun Microsystems and from Sun's lawyers were not returned Monday evening.

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