MS exec wriggles over Hardcore Bill's Java support

When he says he doesn't want to support it, he means they should support it - or something


MS on Trial Like Kempin's Muglia's video was also clearly Muglia II, filmed on 19 February 1999 in Washington DC while Muglia was hanging around waiting for his moment of fame. Having made the point with Kempin, Boies was not inclined to spend time quizzing Muglia on this. A document that Microsoft dearly wished did not exist, by Farana Ahmed of Visual J++ marketing, noted in a heading that "Kill cross-platform Java by grow [sic] the polluted Java makers. Muglia tried to pass off "polluted" as a humorous antidote to Sun's "pure" Java, but Microsoft was too serious for this to be funny. In the semantics stakes, Muglia probably wins the prize for keeping a straight face when he redefined fragmentation: "if Sun and we disagree on this, and diverge in these areas, as long as Netscape doesn't buddy up with Sun, that is a super outcome for us (more fragmentation)." This turned out to be a great blunder, and henceforth he will surely be known as Muglia the Fragmenter. Sun's San Jose case loomed in the background, with plucky Microsoft doing its best to be brave, but failing. Muglia claimed that the dispute was centred on Sun not delivering JDK 1.2 to Microsoft, but he omitted to mention that Microsoft had very publicly said it would no support JDK 1.2, thereby putting Microsoft in breach of contract. The colloquy that gained some headlines is really pretty innocent, but following The Register's practice of bringing its excellent and well-informed readers the full facts, we include most of it: Boies: I want to direct attention to the email at the bottom of the page from Mr Gates, dated May 14, 1997, in particular to the next-to-the-last line where he says, 'I am hardcore about NOT supporting JDK 1.2.' Now, when somebody in Microsoft says they are hardcore about something, that means they really, really mean it; right, sir? Muglia: Perhaps. However, in this particular case, it's interesting--no, in this particular case, if you look at the next sentence in the next paragraph it says, 'if you think we should support JDK 1.2, it's okay.' Boies: Now, when Mr Gates says to somebody in your company that he is hardcore about not supporting something, that's generally taken pretty seriously; would you agree with that? Muglia: We take Bill seriously in general ... Boies: Have you seen any documents from Mr Gates in which Mr Gates says or suggests in any way that he would really like to support JDK 1.2 but he can't because Sun won't give it to him? Muglia: I have had conversations with Bill that he's unhappy that Sun hasn't given us JDK 1.2. No, I've never seen him say he would like to support it, but yes, I have seen him say he would like to get it from Sun. And frankly, really the reason is because we would like to be able to move forward with our contract that we have with them and deliver this technology to the marketplace... In this particular case, exactly what Bill meant by the word 'support' isn't really clear, and we have, as a part of our contract with Sun, a set of obligations to deliver this technology to the marketplace if we choose to include it in our products, so I'm not certain exactly what Bill was referring to when he said 'support'. Let me give you an example of how he could have been meaning that. The Court: Mr Muglia, there is no question pending [meaning Muglia was not allowed to carry on fragmenting, but should only answer questions]. I read it as saying he doesn't like the idea of supporting it. I don't think it could be read any other way. Maybe he changed his mind, but that's what he is saying here. Muglia: I understand that, your honour. If I could clarify one thing, please, though, which is that our contract with Sun allows us to deliver the Java technology as a part of products like Windows, and also it lets us put it on things like our web site. Now, when Bill says 'support', what he means is build it into Windows. Up to this point, in JDK 1.1, we actually took the technology from Sun. We took our competitor's APIs and put it [sic] in Windows. We have the ability as a part of our contract- The court: No, no. Stop. There is no question pending. When the time comes for your counsel to take you on redirect examination, you may then offer this information. It was pretty mild stuff really. Muglia put his foot in it rather more seriously when he said that "Office is an integrated package, and within it are programs that are also sold separately". The analogy with IE and Windows was just too close for Muglia's legal minder Tom Burt, who jumped up to protest that the question was beyond the scope. Judge Jackson told him that if Boies had not asked, he would have done so. In the miscellaneous facts department, Muglia said that Microsoft pays Sun $3.5 million/year for the Java licence. ® Complete Register trial coverage


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