The US District Judge presiding over the antitrust case brought by Sun against Microsoft has said there is a social value in being able to participate fairly in a market undistorted by a competitor.
Judge J. Frederick Motz compared Microsoft's treatment of Sun Microsystems to figure skater Tonya Harding's kneecapping attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan in his summing up of hearings into whether Windows should resume carrying Java.
During the three days of hearings in the private antitrust case, Motz consistently voiced sympathy for levelling the playing field between Sun's Java and Microsoft's .Net software.
"Capitalism is about money, but it is also about something else. It's about pride of product," he said.
While Sun's lead lawyer Lloyd Day maintained the company faced imminent harm if not granted an injunction from the court, Microsoft said Sun's attorneys had "terribly muddled" the legal and competitive issues involved.
Sun has claimed Microsoft views Java as a threat because it can run on a variety of operating systems, not just Windows.
Rob Enderle, an analyst at Giga Information Group, said he believed the trial was going Sun's way, especially following Judge Motz's kneecapping comments.
"However, these same comments may indicate a bias by the judge," he said. "And if it comes down that way, Microsoft will once again win on appeal.
"The biggest problem for Sun is [that] to make this case they really have to position Java as a failure with Microsoft to blame, but then who wants to develop on, or invest in, a failure?"
This has long been one of the problems with taking either Microsoft or Intel to court, even when the plaintiffs win, Enderle added.
Recent surveys - such as one conducted by Merrill Lynch - indicate that companies are pulling back from Sun and increasing their investments with Microsoft.
Enderle warned that Sun must decide quickly whether it wants to win in court or survive in the market. "Historically, companies have seldom been able to do both," he said.
During the week, Motz had suggested that Sun drop some of its demands and go directly to trial on whether to force Microsoft to carry Java.
He also said that Sun might want to drop its request for a preliminary injunction on carrying Java and set aside its claim for more than $1bn (£63m) in damages.
Sun's antitrust lawsuit, which it brought against the software giant in March, is one of several currently before Motz that have been filed in the wake of Microsoft's long-running antitrust fight with the US government.
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