Reuters Microsoft Ordered to Carry Sun's Java Monday December 23, 6:11 pm ET By Peter Kaplan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sun Microsystems Inc. won a major antitrust ruling against Microsoft Corp. on Monday when a federal judge ordered Microsoft to distribute Sun's Java programming language in its Windows operating system. U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz handed down the preliminary injunction at Sun's request, saying it was needed to roll back "market conditions in which (Microsoft) is unfairly advantaged." Motz said there was a "substantial" likelihood the court will impose the condition permanently. He called the injunction "an elegantly simple remedy" aimed at preventing Microsoft's past wrongs from giving it an advantage in the market battle for Internet-based computing. "I further find it is an absolute certainty that unless a preliminary injunction is entered, Sun will have lost forever its right to compete, and the opportunity to prevail, in a market undistorted by its competitor's antitrust violations," Motz said in the 42-page opinion. Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler said the company will ask for an appeal of the ruling "on an expedited basis." The preliminary injunction in the private antitrust suit will remain in effect while the case is either tried or settled. Sun's antitrust lawsuit, which also seeks at least $1 billion in damages, is one of several currently before Motz that have been filed in the wake of Microsoft's long-running antitrust fight with the government. A settlement of the government suit was endorsed by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly last month, although Massachusetts and West Virginia are appealing. Sun contends Microsoft sabotaged its Java software to fend off a threat to its Windows monopoly. During preliminary court hearings early in December, Motz likened Microsoft's behavior toward Sun to the 1994 knee-clubbing of Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan, when she was assaulted by the ex-husband of rival skater Tonya Harding. He also likened Microsoft, which had promoted an incompatible form of Java that worked best on Windows and had taken other steps to hinder Java, to a baseball team that had stolen game signals from the other side, Motz said. Motz, at those preliminary hearings, consistently voiced sympathy for leveling the playing field between Sun's Java and Microsoft's .Net Internet services software. Santa Clara, California-based Sun claims that Microsoft views Sun's Java software as a threat because it can run on a variety of operating systems, not just on Microsoft's Windows. Sun charges Microsoft has tried to sabotage Java by a series of actions, most recently dropping it from Windows XP, which was introduced last year. Microsoft later reversed itself and said it would start including Java in a Windows XP update, but only until 2004. Sun filed its antitrust lawsuit in March this year, after a federal appeals court in 2001 upheld a lower court ruling in the government case that Microsoft had broken U.S. antitrust laws and illegally maintained its monopoly in PC operating systems.