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Sun and Microsoft Settle Litigation 427

spurious cowherd writes "According to The Register Sun Microsystems & Microsoft have reached a settlement in their several lawsuits aainst each other. Sun gets $2B and both parties agree to share intellectual property." There's a press release to read as well.
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Sun and Microsoft Settle Litigation

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  • by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) * on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:20AM (#8746662) Journal

    1) MS is *not* pledging to keep Java up-to-date on the Windows platform, which basically means that applets like mine (see sig) have to use Java 1.1 and nothing higher. Sure, people can download the Java plugin, and lots do, but more don't. On a casual visit to a website, no-one will go through the rigmarole of downloading and installing the latest Java, just to see your applet...

    2) I'm a bit concerned about the "As a result of this agreement, Sun and Microsoft engineers will cooperate to allow identity information to be easily shared between Microsoft Active Directory and the Sun Java System Identity Server" part. The single-signon used to be limited to MS-only platforms, now it has the capability to reach into linux-server land :-(

    If I were being really cynical, I might conclude that MS had spent $2B of it's ample reserves to purchase an extension of single-sign-on into unix (linux and solaris) territory at a time when Sun needed cash.

    It might just slap the EU back into line a bit as well, considering that MS will *spend* $2B to *possibly get* an advantage. What was that fine again ? (Yes, I know about the other measures, but you can only respond with what you have, and MS has loads of cash)

    Simon the cynic.

    • by ron_ivi ( 607351 ) <.moc.secivedxelpmocpaehc. .ta. .ontods.> on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:28AM (#8746742)
      Large proprietary unix vendor and large proprietary windows vendor agree to share intellectual property.

      Not good for software-patent sanity, open source, etc.

      • IBM vs. Sun (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:39AM (#8746849)
        This can't make IBM and HP (if they're still relevant) happy.

        From the press release []:
        "Patents and Intellectual Property: The parties have agreed to a broad covenant not to sue with respect to all past patent infringement claims they may have against each other. The agreement also provides for potential future extensions of this type of covenant. The two companies have also agreed to embark on negotiations for a patent cross-license agreement between them. "

        I expect Solaris10-patent/Linux lawsuits to follow. With the MSFT involvement, I think Sun's the next SCO.

        • Sun as the next SCO? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ron_ivi ( 607351 ) <.moc.secivedxelpmocpaehc. .ta. .ontods.> on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:46AM (#8746917)
          Parent wrote: "I expect Solaris10-patent/Linux lawsuits to follow. With the MSFT involvement, I think Sun's the next SCO."

          I would hope not; but this seems like an interesting fear. Seems Sun is the last Unix vendor left whose strategy is based on a very large R&D investment in a proprietary Unix; and it is in both their interest and Microsoft's for Sun to protect this investment.

          • Earth to Slashdot readers:

            Sun's Java Desktop that they are so fervently pushing is LINUX based.

            Solaris is a very good OS for servers, but blows for desktops for the most part.
            • by Jim_Maryland ( 718224 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @01:42PM (#8747962)
              Solaris is a very good OS for servers, but blows for desktops for the most part.

              Depends on what your using your desktop for. Solaris at the desktop tends to be a preference a user makes. If your developing for a Solaris environment you may want to use your local workstation as a sandbox for local development/testing. While this isn't a requirement (all depends on what your developing), it does add a level of confidence.

              As for Sun pushing Java Desktop System (JDS), they are really pushing 3 solutions:

              Solaris SPARC

              Solaris x86

              Java Desktop System
              Ultimately they are trying to push applications that are binary compatible across all three solutions. This will allow the user to decide which platform meets their needs. I believe we'll see more of the JDS systems than the others at the desktop level, but that's just an opinion.

              BTW - If you have a chance to sit at one of the Sun Blade systems, don't pass it up. The system works well for geospatial applications (generally CPU/graphically intense applications).

        • Re:IBM vs. Sun (Score:5, Insightful)

          by drzhivago ( 310144 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:49AM (#8746947)
          Cross-licensing patents is a common occurrence between technology companies. There really isn't anything unusual there, I think.
          • Re:IBM vs. Sun (Score:5, Insightful)

            by tanguyr ( 468371 ) <> on Friday April 02, 2004 @01:05PM (#8747632) Homepage
            Cross-licensing patents is a common occurrence between technology companies. There really isn't anything unusual there, I think.

            It's about which specific two companies we're talking about.

            If IBM and HP announced a deal like this, the spin would be "industry giants unite behind linux and open source". Sun and Microsoft have at least one thing in common: they are both threatened by the rise in visibility of linux/open source solutions of late.

            Going back years now, Microsoft has had its eyes on the server side of the market - pushing NT against a fragmented Unix marketplace (Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, etc etc). The threat from Linux wasn't people switching NT -> Linux, but rather people switching proprietary unix to Linux in stead of unix to NT. Whether Linux (or any other open source operating system) will become a threat to Microsoft on the desktop remains to be seen, but i guess they're giving the matter some thought.

            Meanwhile, Sun is having a hard time selling costly upmarket solutions to customers who keep hearing that "free" software and inexpensive hardware can deliver just as well (i'm not saying this is true, i'm saying this is what the Sun sales guy keeps hearing from his customers).

            Sun and Microsoft look at the world in much the same way: it's about selling units (as opposed to IBM which sees it as selling service). This is classic "enemy-of-my-enemy" business strategy... we'll have to wait and see how it works out.
      • I just watched the two of them tongue kissing on CNBC Power Lunch. 'Intellectual Property' seemed to be the read-between-the-lines catch phrase.

        The SCO effort is losing steam. Get ready for round two from these two. 'The enemy of my enemy' seems to be the new mantra for Sun and Microsoft.

        What a bizarre, ominous TV moment. The EU decision against Microsoft probably helped this little love fest along.

        Linux questions were raised by CNBC staff and brushed off by Scott and Steve flush with their new fling
    • by Allen Zadr ( 767458 ) <Allen DOT Zadr AT gmail DOT com> on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:31AM (#8746769) Journal
      To your second point... Both Java and Microsoft have separate "single sign on" web solutions that are fully incompatible. And yes, this could mean that linux boxes could potentially run software that directly integrates with a .NET login group. That's not entirely a bad thing.

      Microsoft has continuously tried to defeat Linux by forcing features on users that are incompatible with Linux, while Linux produces a workaround or a compatability layer. Well, this would be one less thing to try and workaround.

      I don't think this is an advantage for Microsoft as now .NET developers can choose to use hybrid Java/.NET solutions that both do authentication depending on which language is the better choice for that task.

      • by Anonymous Cow herd ( 2036 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @01:37PM (#8747904) Homepage
        Please stop with the mindless doublespeak. They're not "forcing features on users that are incompatible with Linux", they're doing what they think is best for their customers (not that they're always right about this, mind you) and really don't give a crap about "Linux compatibility". As long as Linux keeps this underdog mentality and spends all it's time playing catchup instead of working on some of its more difficult issues, Linux isn't going to go anywhere. Long story short, Linux should be developing its own strengths and killer apps instead of trying to emulate Microsoft's.
    • by FatherOfONe ( 515801 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:42AM (#8746881)
      I agree with most of what you said. However people not downloading a "new" JVM is becoming far less of an issue. As more and more people get higher speed access to the net and the download/install of the jvm gets better this will become a non-issue. The current JVM is around 5MB and installs without much of a problem on Windows. This is little different than flash. A new version comes out and if I want to view that site, I have to download it and install it.

      Now for the more serious matter. You better stop developing applets. They are almost dead. Look at the webstart stuff. That appears to be the direction Sun has been going for a while now. Also, I don't see how you are in any worse of a position now than before this agreement between Sun and Microsoft took place, in regards to Applets. Microsoft was NEVER EVER going to ship a Sun 1.2 or 1.3 or 1.4 or 1.5 compatable JVM. Most developers knew this for a while. The last thing Microsoft wants is for their OS to not be needed.

      • by SashaM ( 520334 ) <> on Friday April 02, 2004 @12:15PM (#8747190) Homepage

        The current JVM is around 5MB and installs without much of a problem on Windows.

        Actually, it's 15MB []

        Now for the more serious matter. You better stop developing applets. They are almost dead. Look at the webstart stuff.

        While WebStart is sweet, Java 1.1 (what Windows ships with) compatible applets are still the only practical way to deliver moderately complex applications via the browser to about 95% of the users. And before you say Flash - it is suitable for pretty graphics and animations, not serious things.

    • by thegrommit ( 13025 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:50AM (#8746949)
      Applets? Thankfully this will hopefully kill them. What worries me is this:

      Microsoft Communications Protocol Program: Sun has agreed to sign a license for the Windows desktop operating system communications protocols under Microsoft's Communications Protocol Program, established pursuant to Microsoft's consent decree and final judgment with the U.S. Department of Justice and 18 state attorneys general.

      Who knows what changes (i.e. restrictions) Microsoft is going to make to their protocols in the future. While the likes of Sun will have the right to use those protocols, what effect is this going to have on open source projects which don't have the ability to purchase a license?
      • Don't bother. There's likely only one reason why Microsoft wanted Sun to sign up. That is, so Microsoft can claim they're no longer an abusive monopoly by showing a nice big list of people who've signed up for the program. Up until recently, it's only been Microsoft partners who were pressured into signing up, this is probably the first competitor to sign up (as long as you ignore the fact it was via a lawsuit settlement).
    • by mactari ( 220786 ) <rufwork AT gmail DOT com> on Friday April 02, 2004 @12:07PM (#8747118) Homepage
      Two points, catered to delivering Java-powered client applications to John Q. Public effortlessly (let's face it; that's what applets did):

      Up until now, you could release a Java 1.1.x compatible *application* (no security sandbox) without worrying about Granny Smith even having been able to spell jre when she was downloading. That's a good thing. 1.1.x is plenty to check and see if there's a Java 2 JRE laying around, and helping Granny get it if you absolutely need it.

      Which brings me to point 2... Do you really *need* Java 2, or do you just want it? Admittedly Swing is a little buggy on 1.1.4 [if you include swingall.jar], which is as far as MS's VM got before the mess started, but Oracle still ships a version of 1.1.8 to power its management tools. There's very little you can't do with 1.1.x, especially once you've got the Collections API [] in the mix.

      I've seen emails go across the Apple Java Development mailing list saying things like, "Our boss says we *have* to have generics, so Macs and their 1.4.x JVM are right out for development." Look, these are things you've been happily *not* using for all of Java's existence, that older code still works in 1.5, yet you're moving the whole of your development over b/c you think a new, just out of beta feature is cool? "As if source code rusted. []"

      This settlement is great news for Java on the desktop. The longer you can keep more of your code 1.1 friendly, the longer you can deploy effortlessly on Windows. That window had almost closed, and now it's back, wide open.

      And from the press release, though I'm not so optimistic to believe it'll necessarily be the case, there's nothing ruling out MS's installation of a newer version of Sun's jre by default in the future. Heck, it ain't jre's or clr's that boost an OS, it's, "Developers, developers, developers, developers." Maybe MS sees the more the merrier, and would prefer things like Sun's Mad Hatter [] not gain any special traction. Reminds me a little of AOL dropping Mozilla (which it based the OS X AOL client on as proof of concept in the Great Game of 0110 Chicken 2003) the second after MS relicensed them the IE engine.
    • by dAzED1 ( 33635 )
      "If I were being really cynical, I might conclude that MS had spent $2B of it's ample reserves to purchase an extension of single-sign-on into unix (linux and solaris) territory at a time when Sun needed cash."
      Sun doesn't "need" the cash. They have 2Bill in debts, and 6Bill in cash already. They are in a very, very good financial situation. Its part of the reason that they don't care as much about the price of the stock. Sure, 2Bill is a lot of money, but they're doing ok without it.
  • Haha (Score:4, Funny)

    by ( 156602 ) * on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:21AM (#8746668) Homepage Journal
    Ha ha, very funny. April wait, it's the second! Wow, imagine that!
  • by Omega1045 ( 584264 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:22AM (#8746678)
    Seriously, not to be a troll. I really think that MS did damage Sun. I wonder if this $2B will give them a profit this quarter. They sure could use one...
    • Almost as much as Sun damaged itself. It looks like Scott has put his ego on the backburner and is focusing on saving his business. That new attitude (if it lasts) is probably as significant as the $1.95 billion.
    • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:28AM (#8746738)
      Microsoft dammaged Sun with MSJava, Sun sued to stop it. Sun won and Microsoft started shipping Sun Java. Sun sued to stop that as well. Microsoft shipped no Java, this hurt Sun more then MSJava and was Suns own fault. Sun didn't know when to stop, there was a point where all was well and Microsoft was shipping the right product. Ah well.
      • Not really. As I understand it, MS refused to ship Sun's Java VM and Sun lost the bid to make MS ship it with MSWindows*. MS just told Sun to F off after it got it's own little thingy (.Njet)

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 02, 2004 @12:12PM (#8747167)
        As usual, this comment is almost correct, but not quite. Please try not to oversimplify if you don't know what you are talking about. The reason Sun had MS stop distributing the JRE was because the only JRE MS could legally distribute when they had to include it in the OS was JRE 1.1.8. If you at all know about the Java industry, JRE 1.1.8 came out pre-1998 and Java is about to release 1.5 after 1.2.x, 1.3.x, and 1.4.x. So, if you were a company that wants developers to use the latest and greatest in what Java has to offer in their applets, then you definitely don't want JRE 1.1.8 being distributed. This is crippling the devolpment of at most applet development in the whole scheme of things that Java is used for. As a developer, you would have to consider this if you want to include as many people as possible into your web audience, which in effect forces development to pre-1999 levels of Java for applet development. That sucks.

        Not sure who considers your comment insightful as it is very vaque. Come on /.er's, don't be so gullible to reward stupid rhetoric. For all we know, this person is an MS fanboy and purposefully not mentioning details that would otherwise make things a little clearer to form an opinion on. Either it's that, or this person is lazy and stupid and doesn't do his homework before opening his big mouth. So, do your due dilligence before repeating corporate bullshit, you mimic.
    • It certainly didn't hurt Sun's stock. Up ~20% today
  • by Godeke ( 32895 ) * on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:24AM (#8746698)
    Doubling your available cash assests (Yahoo Finance) [] will help, but the company is still bleeding money. (Dropping 3,000+ jobs will also help.) Really what this appears to mean is that Microsoft has put Sun on life support so they don't become the only vendor in the virtual machine driven software development market. Imagine the potential antitrust suit if Java wasn't there to compete against dot Net. Frankly, I think this shows that Microsoft thinks it is winning this battle, otherwise they wouldn't have thrown the bone to them.
    • by Ryosen ( 234440 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:34AM (#8746802)
      Sun's death would not take Java with it. Quite the contrary, it might just free it up. As for being the only one in the virtual machine market, there are several other companies that produce virtual machines for Java. IBM is one such example, offering both stand alone and clustered VM's. There are several other 3rd party VMs as well as some open source [] ones.

      And, with complete sympathy to those who use Java for developing applets and lament MS' continuing lack of support in their browser, Java's strength, both on the functional and marketable fronts, is on the server-side. Microsoft is still a long way from conquering the middleware/application server market.
    • I honestly think that if Sun gets to the point where it will go out of business that IBM will snatch them up faster than 2 jiggles of a jack rabbit's bottom.
  • Sooo..... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:24AM (#8746699)
    So does this mean that Windows will start shipping with Java again? Or will Sun kick their own nut sack again and counter sue to stop Microsoft from shipping any version of Java (again)?
    • The way I read it, it means they are going to continue to support it, previously I believe support for MSJVM ended in September of this year. I would guess they still won't ship it, this agreement just lets them keep supporting the dolts that wrote applets or whatever against the MSJVM.

      And really I don't think Windows needs to ship with it, as much as I like Java I'd be just fine with never seeing a Java app on my desktop ever again.

  • by telstar ( 236404 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:24AM (#8746706)
    Seriously ... what's the point of having a place with Windows if there's no Sun out there to light things up? By the way ... Is it still April 1st in some timezone I'm not aware of?
  • I've never heard Mcnelly speak without bashing microsoft. ... Is it even possible?
  • by UltimaGuy ( 745333 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:27AM (#8746726) Homepage
    SCO and IBM settled their long standing dispute with IBM agreeing to pay SCO 3 billions and SCO accepting that Linux source code does not belong to them :-) And Bill Gates and RMS met over a dinner and shared jokes about their college days.
  • Forced to buy less tissues this week. Allergic Microsoft employees suffer with only two boxes per desk.
  • by LetterJ ( 3524 ) <> on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:27AM (#8746733) Homepage
    The disparity of timelines between activities in technology and those in court is staggering. If you look even just at this case and the anti-trust case against Microsoft, they're still arguing about issues in court that have pretty much been steamrolled by technology. As a result, the settlements and results are less than satisfying for anyone other than the lawyers. I mean, Sun and Microsoft have been fighting about this for several years. By now, anyone needing to use a JDK on Windows has set up methods for making sure it's there, and Microsoft has done their entire .NET strategy.

    This is almost like divorce arguments where people fight over furniture even though both sides have long since replaced the disputed furniture. When it's over, all that happens is that someone now has a couch they don't have room for.
    • by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @12:22PM (#8747253) Homepage Journal

      arguing about issues in court that have pretty much been steamrolled by technology

      Yes, this accord is very much reminscent of the earlier settlement where for US$750 million AOL agreed to abandon its Netscape action against Microsoft.

      AOL needed the cash bad and Netscape had been already practically steamrolled over by Internet Explorer (with the interesting sidenote of giving Apple $150M to pick IE).

      If this trend continues, whoever buys up the failing corpse of RealNetworks will be in for some cash from MS in a year or so...

    • by Total_Wimp ( 564548 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @01:10PM (#8747660)
      Damn, I wish I had mod points. This is the main problem with our courts in the age of the internet. Microsoft knows good and well that they can:

      1. Do anything they want, regardless of legality
      2. Use that "anything" to maintain their Monopoly, thereby continuing to collect ~10 billion a year for Windows and Office
      3. Drag out the resulting court action for enough time that the technology their "anything" competed against is dead.
      4. Settle the court action in a way that doesn't hurt their Windows or Office monopoly one bit, but that gives what looks like a windfall to the dead technology.
      5. Promise they won't do it again.
      6. In fact they never will do it again (on that same technology wink, wink).
      7. Start the process over with a new technology.

      Pennfield Jackson recognized this and described it very well in his judgment. He called it the "application barrier to entry". He didn't give much stock to the browser that was dead, Netscape, but instead described that the process of destroying Netscape was maintenance of Windows and Office.

      If Jackson were to see the EU ruling, he would immediately dismiss any possibility that media players even matter and hone in on the fact that by getting a hold on the media player market, Microsoft helps ensure Windows dominance. By dragging this out in the court Media Player will have its chance to dominate, possibly past the point of no return, to the point that MS could care less about a tiny .5 billion fine. Even if they lose, because the process has taken so long they will have more than a chance to win in the end. They will win for Windows sake, because none of those Windows Media DRMed files are ever going to play on Linux, or Mac, or any other platform people might have otherwise been willing to run.

      Sun: It's gone through the whole process. Java has been slowly dieing on the Windows platform and will be replaced by .Net for "mainstream" web sites. Microsoft will have ensured that your next computer purchase will have Windows pre-installed so you can run IE and properly use that .Net site. MS gets more than ~10 billion a year due to your purchase of Windows and they will have bought this for only ~2 billion dollars over ~5 years. Not a bad investment at all.

      MS has truly learned how to "lose" these court cases and dance in the street at the condolence party.


  • Shortly after agreeing to settle, Microsoft realized $2 Bil was a lot of money, and immediately approached the DOJ to have the settlement blocked.
  • This is good for Sun (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Profane MuthaFucka ( 574406 ) <> on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:29AM (#8746746) Homepage Journal
    Any general knows that fighting a two front war is a bad thing, and Sun has effectively limited one of the fronts they are fighting on. But, the other front could kill them. IBM has a special mission to kill Sun dead, and they are a formidable foe. With their sweet computers (all of which run Linux) and their low prices, Sun can barely compete.

    Sun needed this cash and the break with the fight with Microsoft. But I doubt that in the long run it will be enough. Their Opteron strategy just has to pay off for them if they want to last another 10 years.
  • by LenE ( 29922 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:29AM (#8746747) Homepage
    $2 Billion is the most that Microsoft has EVER payed out to any company. To reach a settlement like this, they may have future plans to do a lot more with Java. Technology sharing...

    -- Len
    • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @02:33PM (#8748574) Homepage
      $2 Billion is the most that Microsoft has EVER payed out to any company. To reach a settlement like this, they may have future plans to do a lot more with Java.
      Could be. At a recent software clambake at the Sun campus, I was surprised to learn that, for the first time, Sun counts consumers as part of its customer base. Expect to see the beginnings of a consumer-targeted marketing blitz around the Java platform, featuring the Java logo, particularly focusing on the area of mobile devices (cell phone handsets). Rumor has it this campaign could include TV ads during the NHL finals.

      If I had to take a random guess, I'd bet Sun and Microsoft will soon announce an agreement that will see Java bundled with every Windows CE device, as well.

  • by PinternetGroper ( 595689 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:30AM (#8746762)
    B is for billion, right, not just bucks? wow!
  • oh goodie, goodie! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nikin ( 638522 )
    So, what's the catch?
  • by Analogy Man ( 601298 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:31AM (#8746772)
    After all the rancor over the last few years the wording of the press release is so mechical...I wonder if you can see Scott McNealy's new borg implant blinking in the video coverage.
  • Geological process (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ikkyu ( 84373 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:31AM (#8746780)
    I notice a number of people commenting on the balance of Microsoft's cash on hand. I believe that we will witness erosion of the giant rather than the instant destruction. A billion here five hundred million there, a few lost customers, a few governmental restrictions, pressure to give deep discounts they all add up and over time the surplus will erode away. How are they going to fight when they can't throw money at their problems, when they can't afford to take a loss in furtherance of their strangle hold?
    • by DAldredge ( 2353 )
      They are adding to their mountain of cash at a faster rate then they are taking money out to pay fines/bribes like this one...
    • by mwood ( 25379 )
      MS had so much cash that they had to get rid of some of it by declaring dividends for the first time ever, not so long ago. I don't think they have a cash problem now or in the foreseeable future.
      • by dustman ( 34626 )
        MS had so much cash that they had to get rid of some of it by declaring dividends for the first time ever, not so long ago. I don't think they have a cash problem now or in the foreseeable future.

        They didn't "have to get rid of it" because they had too much cash. They issued dividends for the first time because of the inane tax cut on dividends. So, MS could issue millions/billions worth of dividends (which certainly made large holders (ie the people in charge of this decision) a ton of money) basically
  • Fine print (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mseeger ( 40923 ) * on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:32AM (#8746790)

    i believe the most interesting line is:

    Sun is also satisfied that the agreements announced today satisfy the objectives it was pursuing in the EU actions pending against Microsoft.

    As Sun was the major complaining competitor in the EU case, this gives M$ a lot of fire support when trying to challenge the record fine. Another indication is the timing: shortly after the EU announced the fine.

    Regards, Martin

    • I noticed the EU fine timing also.

      My supposition is this. Sun had just proved that it could hound/"assist" the global legal system into fining Microsoft 600 million.

      The $2 billion valuation figure for leaving Microsoft alone wasn't arrived at until it was clear what financial penalties Sun could (indirectly) cause to Microsoft if they persisted in pursuing them legally.

      By agreeing to shell out $2 billion, Microsoft is pragmatically admitting that it would be subject to at least that many fines going for
  • In other words... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kclittle ( 625128 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:34AM (#8746808)
    ...Microsoft wins again.

    Think about it; think about how little $2B is to MS, compared to 10 years with no harassment from Sun.

    William Henry Gates III is the greatest capitalist tactician since John D. Rockefeller. I do not see that as necessarily positive. But, damn, he can sure play the game.

    • think about how little $2B is to MS

      Well, according to Cringely [], $2bn is only2 months worth of MS cash. This article does a good job of explaining why none of this makes any difference


    • Re:In other words... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by KingJoshi ( 615691 ) <> on Friday April 02, 2004 @12:06PM (#8747108) Homepage
      William Henry Gates III is the greatest capitalist tactician since John D. Rockefeller. I do not see that as necessarily positive. But, damn, he can sure play the game.

      To me, that means that Microsoft must have a strategy for if/when Open Source becomes the norm. Though it might be 5-10 years down the line, and Microsoft battling every step of the way, if/when Open Source Software becomes the norm, they must have plans to adjust their business. It'll be interesting to see how things play out...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:36AM (#8746827)
    Sun settles with Microsoft, cuts 3,300 jobs I3 MTYxNDkEdGVzdAMwBHRtcGwDbnMtYmV0YQ--/s/171067
    Sun Settles With Microsoft, Cuts Jobs
    17 minutes ago

    Add Technology - AP to My Yahoo!

    By MAY WONG, AP Technology Writer

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - Struggling server maker Sun Microsystems Inc. reached a sweeping, $1.6 billion settlement with Microsoft Corp. and said it plans to cooperate with its longtime nemesis, a company it had branded an unrepentant monopolist.

    Related Quotes

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    The surprise agreement was accompanied by an announcement Friday by Sun that it is cutting 3,300 jobs and that its net loss for the fiscal third quarter will be wider than expected. The cuts represent 9 percent of its total work force of more than 35,000.

    The "broad cooperating agreement" with Microsoft ends Sun's $1 billion private antitrust suit against the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant. Sun's complaints also helped spark the investigation that led to the European Union (news - web sites)'s recent record fine against Microsoft.

    "It puts peace on the table in a big way," said Scott McNealy, Sun's chief executive, during a conference call Friday.

    As part of the deal, Microsoft will pay Sun $700 million to resolve the antitrust case, which was scheduled to go to trial in January 2006, and $900 million to resolve patent issues. Sun and Microsoft also will pay royalties for each others' technologies.

    "Our companies will continue to compete hard, but this agreement creates a new basis for cooperation that will benefit the customers of both companies," said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive officer.

    Sun's biggest claim -- and the main charge in its antitrust against Microsoft -- involved the Java programming environment Sun created to allow software to run on all computers regardless of the operating system.

    Sun said Microsoft violated its license agreement by creating its own version of Java, thus making it less universal. Though a settlement of that case was reached, both sides ended up in court again after Microsoft said it planned to stop supporting Java.

    Under Friday's agreement, Microsoft "may continue to provide product support" for its version of the software, called Microsoft Java Virtual Machine.

    The deal also creates cooperation between the companies in the technical area of Web-based applications and user identity management between Sun and Microsoft servers. Sun also agreed to sign a license that will allow its software to better communicate with Windows-based desktop computers.

    The agreement settles Sun's complaint over Microsoft's server communications that led to the EU's decision against Microsoft last month. That ruling also was based on Microsoft's bundling of its media player with its ubiquitous Windows operating system, though Sun did not play a role in that complaint.

    "Sun is also satisfied that the agreements announced today satisfy the objectives it was pursuing in the EU actions pending against Microsoft," Sun said in a statement Friday.

    The agreement is an unprecedented change in the relationship between the two companies.

    Sun's McNealy often railed against Microsoft, repeatedly calling Microsoft a monopoly and its .Net Web services technology "dot-Not." He often used the world "hairball" in describing Microsoft's proprietary software.

    But the anti-Microsoft rants quieted in recent months, as Sun struggled to post a profit and the companies worked at resolving the issues between them. On Friday, Sun executives s

  • Shit. Sun sold their soul. See the press-release: "Microsoft Support for Java: The companies have agreed that Microsoft may continue to provide product support for the Microsoft Java Virtual Machine that customers have deployed in Microsoft's products".

    Dear Scott, now that you've sold your soul, have dealt with the devil: what's next? DOT-NET compatibility layers for Java? Cooperation with Unisys to provider 32-CPU servers for Windows Datacenter edition? IMHO you've just destroyed your lifework, no wonder
  • There is a difference. While not much between 2.0 and 1.6, but when it's to the 8th power, it's a big number. Hey, the difference is nearly the entire EU settlement.

    Quote things properly please.
  • by Frag-A-Muffin ( 5490 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:39AM (#8746859) Homepage
    From the article:

    Legal Settlements: The two companies are settling and terminating their lawsuit in the United States. Sun is also satisfied that the agreements announced today satisfy the objectives it was pursuing in the EU actions pending against Microsoft.

    [ emphasis was added by me ]

    I thought Sun was the primary driver behind the whole thing in the first place. What's going to happen now?
  • Several things: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by scorp1us ( 235526 )
    1) $2B to one company vs 600M to all of Europe.

    2) Collaboration on .Net and Java - Here it is people, the reason why there will be no open source Java. MS already got their hands in it.

    3) Incedentally, MS will use this to kill off Java.

    McNealy is a moron. He screwes up time and time again and still maintains a company. This man is truly a ledgend. I think McBride idolizes him, but McBride won't survive. He's just not that good.

    And what is it with Irish dumbasses (Mc*) running tech-biz?
  • Interpretation of PR (Score:4, Interesting)

    by burnin1965 ( 535071 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:45AM (#8746907) Homepage
    I read the press release and this is what I get out of it:

    MS gives Sun some cash
    Sun helps MS fix .NET and user authentication problems in Windows
    Sun sells Windows on Sun Xeon and Opteron boxes
    Sun hands over any good ideas they have left
    Sun never sues MS ever again for their illegal business practices.

    I can only hope that this news will run SUNW up high enough so I can finally get out.

    • I think your points 1 and 2 are not quite right..

      MS gives Sun some cash
      MS gives Sun some loose change it found lying around down the back of BG's sofa.

      Sun helps MS fix .NET and user authentication problems in Window
      Sun accepts that a single sign on is a good thing, ushers in LibertyPassport system....

  • Strange bedfellows (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dafz1 ( 604262 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:45AM (#8746909)
    This deal reminds me of the Apple/Microsoft deal. If you can't beat 'em, give them a whole lot of money to become "technical partners."

    I wonder how StarOffice for Windows fits into this? I doubt that it's going to be around to much longer.

    This would also explain why Sun doesn't want to open source Java.
  • ... but I had no idea it was cold enough for hell to freeze over! I have to believe this is a belated April fools day joke... these companies hate each other almost as much as the Oracle vs Microsoft feud. I mean... this went beyond an industry spat it was downright personal.

    Funny thing is, this sounds alot like when Microsoft bailed out Corel... look how it turned out for them! Sun isnt exactly as strong as it once was... this is a bad sign of things to come.
  • EU? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Aardpig ( 622459 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:49AM (#8746948)

    Sun gets $2B and both parties agree to share intellectual property

    Compare this $2B with the $600M fine [] levied by the European Union. The difference between the two values is revealing, and can be intepreted in two ways. Either the EU judgement was yet another fudge, and Microsoft have once more got off lightly after being convicted of monopoly abuse.

    Or, a large part of the intellectual property sharing is a Java payoff. In particular, Sun may have agreed to waive any complaints regarding the fact that C# is lifted from Java, in return for the large pile of cash.

    Personally, I think both explainations are equally probable, and the reality is an admixture of the two.

    • Re:EU? (Score:2, Interesting)

      Sun's biggest mistake was killing Microsoft's JVM. I work in application support and Sun's JVM sucks. Each vendor requires a different version of a JVM and older java applets are not compatable with the newer JVMs. All Sun did was convence more programmers to adopt .NET.

      Sun isn't very stable as a company since their stock is now JUNK_FLAG enabled. Hopefully 2B will help their stock, but Sun is famous for screwing that up.


      Remember, if IBM wrote JAVA it would be called C++

  • by SoopahMan ( 706062 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:53AM (#8746981)
    An earlier post whined that Microsoft will not be shipping an updated JVM with Windows. That's a good thing:
    1. Applets are one of the worst technologies ever wrought on the Web. ActiveX is about as bad, and Push was bad but at least we didn't have to ever use it. If Applets will now be outdated too, maybe there will be less of them. This is good for Microsoft (less Java) and for Sun (less embarassing Java).

    2. JVMs change constantly. The JVM I write my app for is probably not the one you wrote yours for. Rarely do people deploy Java assuming it ought to run - they specify a JVM it's intended for, and often demand you install that JVM and point to it for their software. JVMs coexist very peacefully. The point is, there's no sense in Windows shipping with a JVM - you're just going to go around it with each Java product you install anyway.
    Now, is this deal is actually good for both companies? Microsoft tends to make a very poor bed partner - they give you sweaty sheets for a few months and then throw everything you own out the window. Just look at how they've turned their backs on nVidia after the Xbox partnership - and Microsoft bashers can provide many more historical examples. Sun will need a very strong strategy that leverages the benefits of the combined technology beyond Microsoft's reach if they intend to gain from this - like the way nVidia used Microsoft's money to launch into the motherboard market.
  • This reminds me a bit of outsourcing: A short-term shot of money for the stockholders with no thoughts of the long-term consequences. :-(
  • My Take. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Thanatopsis ( 29786 ) <despain DOT brian AT gmail DOT com> on Friday April 02, 2004 @12:01PM (#8747053) Homepage
    Several things stand out.

    1. 900 Million of the award was to resolve patent issues. That's a pretty huge number (in fact it's the highest patent violation settlement I have ever seen.

    2."Sun and Microsoft have agreed to pay royalties for use of each other's technology, with Microsoft making an up-front payment of $350 million and Sun making payments when this technology is incorporated into its server products." So MS and Sun have a cross licensing aggreement and SUN will pay them when the technology is incorporated.

    The total award is actually 1.6 Billion. The 350 Million mentioned in the article is the first upfront payment. The cross licensing of patents is the important feature of the settlement. The collaboration is less newsworthy as it was mandated by the settlement with the DOJ.
    • Re:My Take. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Quixote ( 154172 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @12:53PM (#8747509) Homepage Journal
      1. 900 Million of the award was to resolve patent issues. That's a pretty huge number (in fact it's the highest patent violation settlement I have ever seen.

      Good catch. Let's expand on this a little.
      Microsoft has recently hired [] the guy who built up IBM's formidable patent portfolio.
      Microsoft recently floated a trial balloon by asking for miniscule royalties on FAT16, the filesystem that goes into the little flash memory cards in cameras, PDAs, etc.
      Microsoft may pay the $900MM now, but will get back much more later (note the "Sun and Microsoft will pay each other royalties"). In other words, McNealy has opted for short-term gain instead of long-term viability; expect Microsoft to use the patents to crush Sun in a couple of years.
      The patents will also be Microsoft's key weapon againt the OSS community. Here's a snippet from an article [] :
      Asked by CollabNet CTO Brian Behlendorf whether Microsoft will enforce its patents against open source projects, Mundie replied, "Yes, absolutely." An audience member pointed out that many open source projects aren't funded and so can't afford legal representation to rival Microsoft's. "Oh well," said Mundie. "Get your money, and let's go to court."

  • by stecoop ( 759508 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @12:01PM (#8747058) Journal
    SUNW's market capital is $16.01B at 50% of that is $8.005B. Minus the $1.2B, MSFT could buy majority control of SUNW for $6.805B + $1. Hmm it seems that MSFT has something up its sleeve.
  • by SirChive ( 229195 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @12:02PM (#8747061)
    This show us, once again, that Microsoft can and will buy whatever it wants. Sun now lives on the Redmond food chain. They toe the line or, in the end, they die.

    There is only one way to survive against an entity that controls a bottomless pile of cash. That is to NOT be for sale. Any for-profit enterprise, like Sun, is for sale and the Gates machine can buy whatever it wants.

    But Gates and his horde can't buy Linux; they can't buy Open Source, they can't buy Free Software. This scares them and, in that, lies our only hope.
  • I smell trouble... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MoeMoe ( 659154 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @12:02PM (#8747066)
    I'm no conspiracy theorist but it's just a little odd that Sun decided not to go open source with Java and now Microsoft seems to be settling so easily ($2,000,000,000 seems like a payoff)... What really bothers me is the part that says "both parties agree to share intellectual property."

    All I'm waiting for now is to see how difficult open source implementation of scripting for Java will become.

    Moderators: When in doubt, mod Interesting ;)
  • what this means... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hak1du ( 761835 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @12:05PM (#8747090) Journal
    Microsoft doesn't just settle for $2bn if there isn't something big in it for them. That's not a matter of money for Microsoft, it's a matter of pride.

    What this really amounts to is that Sun is going downhill fast and Microsoft is effectively buying the assets. Sun gets a $2bn infusion of cash and lays of 3300 people. In return, Microsoft gets cross-licenses to Sun's patents. Why would Microsoft be interested in this? Because Sun has lots of patents on Java and VM related technologies that Sun could use to create problems for Microsoft's C#/.NET effort.

    If it wasn't already clear to you that Sun was an unreliable partner for OSS work, this "settlement" should bring it into focus.
  • Looks like Sun (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Queuetue ( 156269 ) <queuetue@gmai l . com> on Friday April 02, 2004 @12:14PM (#8747187) Homepage
    Looks like Sun might have gone from "Teetering on irrelevancy" to "Embraced, Extended and Extinguished." At least they got some cash to cushion the golden parachutes.
  • by Anonymous Meoward ( 665631 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @12:55PM (#8747537)

    This is bad for SUNW and the shareholders, no doubt. Yes, McNeally and friends do get a lifeline of cash, but I'm sure MSFT is aware that they're merely postponing the inevitable.

    What this means IMO is that SUNW is a more viable takeover target than they were 24 hours ago.

    Granted, they could buy back shares with the new cash (and may want to, for many reasons), but the underlying business plan is very vulnerable. Linux is eating Solaris' lunch, and a custom hardware solution isn't cutting it today in the marketplace. (I know, Sun servers are fun to work with, quite reliable, blah blah blah. But I know a few organizations that are abandoning Solaris for Linux, if only for the price advantage.)

    I'd be looking for suitors right about now, if I were part of SUNW's mgmt. team. (Or I'd flip off everyone in Mountain View and unfurl the golden parachute, depending on what kind of bastard I felt like that day.)

    So here's an idea to debate: another Unix vendor [] is desperately trying to break into the server and enterprise computing market. Assuming that said vendor has the cash and the will to use it (big assumptions there, I know), would this be a worthwhile strategy to pursue?

  • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @01:02PM (#8747613)
    How did their last, legal, "agreement" go? How about almost every company Microsoft signs "agreements" with and isn't a full fledged MSFT follower?

    Sun should have taken the money and walked away. Now, Sun is supposed to get the EU to back off, raise it's hand when the DOJ asks how signed up for MSFT's IP licensing and to a few other dances....All the while, Sun is supposed to be pushing Linux( Java Desktop ) and Solaris?????

    This looks like more bad business on Sun's part. They'll be back in court or out of business and either way, Microsoft will wins because:

    1) They'll have had Sun to help reduce pressure from the EU and US/DOJ

    2) Distracted Sun by thinking it will get it's software to interoperate with Microsofts and Sun will lose more customers while gaining few->none.

    3) Microsoft might get access to some of Sun's Java code too and that might help with some migrations from J2EE to .Nyet

    4) .....


  • by Codifex Maximus ( 639 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @02:41PM (#8748658) Homepage
    Jump into bed with Microsoft and you get the shaft. Happens every time.

    Sun had a good run I guess.
  • by metamatic ( 202216 ) on Friday April 02, 2004 @04:29PM (#8749845) Homepage Journal
    As part of the deal, Sun has also agreed to cripple Java by making Java applications really ugly and slow, and...

    Oh, wait, never mind.

Where there's a will, there's an Inheritance Tax.