Microsoft Seeks Extension in Java Ruling

Microsoft Corp. has asked a U.S. district court to give it more time to comply with a preliminary injunction that gave it 90 days to make changes to its products that use Java technology, a Microsoft spokesman confirmed late today.

Microsoft this week filed three motions with the U.S. District Court in San Jose, Northern District of California, where Sun Microsystems Inc. is suing the software maker for allegedly breaching its Java licensing contract, Sun and Microsoft officials said.

One of the motions asks the court to give it 120 days to comply with the order on some of its products, and requests a 90 day extension for other products, according to Sun spokeswoman Lisa Poulson. The motion is accompanied by declarations from PC manufacturers describing the time it takes to get updated technology into certain distribution channels, Poulson said.

Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan said the motion asking for more time was filed under seal with the court, and should not have been discussed publicly by Sun. He declined to say which products Microsoft needs more time to make the changes to.

U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte, in awarding Sun the preliminary injunction last month, said he would extend the 90 day period if Microsoft could show good cause.

A second motion asks for an expedited hearing on Microsoft's request for extra time. Microsoft asked the court to grant it a hearing Jan. 8, 1999, Cullinan confirmed.

"We need a chance to explain the timeline by which we are moving here," Cullinan said. "Microsoft has shipped thousands of products that are affected by this order and we are moving to comply as quickly as we can."

A third motion asks the court to clarify or modify the injunction so that it won't keep Microsoft from distributing "independently developed" technology, Poulson and Cullinan said. This motion refers to Java products made by Microsoft that do not include Java source code from Sun, Cullinan said.

Cullinan declined to say whether Microsoft currently has Java products that do not include Sun source code, but said the company wants to keep that option open for the future, Cullinan said.