I’ve spent the last two days installing and playing with Windows Server 2003. It ads some much-needed features and improvements to IIS that make it a much better server OS than the Windows 2000 line. Aside from some unnecessary hardware and software compatibility issues, I have one complaint: it’s missing Microsoft’s own optimized version of Java. Is this a case of Microsoft trying to “bully” Sun? No, the missing Java is a result of a Sun lawsuit intended to force Microsoft to scuttle its superior version of Java in lieu of Sun’s because Microsoft’s implementation is “incompatible” and “obsolete.” My own experience with both versions indicates that Microsoft’s Java is better, faster, and just as compatible as Sun’s.

In the latest decision, the judge ruled that by producing a better version of Sun’s “open” standard, Microsoft was using its monopoly power to help its .Net platform. Apparently, making your competitor’s product (which MS had a license to) work better is “anti-competitive.” To his credit, he ruled that (for now) Microsoft does not have to include Sun’s inferior Java in Microsoft’s own operating systems.

Why is a company supposedly dedicated to innovation and open standards preventing others from making their own improved versions? How can Sun criticize Microsoft for being “monopolistic” while trying to force its Java into Windows and engaging in the same deals with computer manufacturers as Microsoft to bundle Java onto desktops? There are many complex licensing and technical issues here, but it is clear to me that Sun has realized that its client and server-side Java products are inferior to .Net and (like SCO) is trying to win in the courts where it has failed in innovation.