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Sun Micro to Pursue Billion-Dollar Microsoft Suit Fri Nov 1,10:06 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – One of Microsoft Corp.’s (NasdaqNM:MSFT – news) most tenacious rivals, Sun Microsystems Inc.(NasdaqNM:SUNW – news) vowed on Friday to keep fighting Microsoft with a billion-dollar lawsuit and urged state attorneys general to appeal their antitrust case despite a legal setback.

A federal judge on Friday endorsed an antitrust settlement between Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Justice (news – web sites), dismissing the protests and proposals of nine states that sought stricter terms against the software maker.

A 2001 federal court ruling that Microsoft had illegally used its monopoly power in the Windows operating system eventually led to the settlement with the Department of Justice (news – web sites) and also supplied Microsoft competitors with ammunition for civil lawsuits.

Santa Clara, California-based Sun filed suit in March seeking more than $1 billion in damages and claiming its business was damaged by Microsoft’s abusive monopoly, which impeded the use of Sun’s Java software platform.

Sun’s Java and Microsoft’s .NET are competing architectures for the next generation of the Internet, especially for mobile and wireless uses.

“We will… continue to pursue our civil case and to cooperate with the European Commission (news – web sites)’s case against Microsoft to ensure that the company does not continue to use its monopoly position to become the gatekeeper of the Internet,” Sun Special Counsel Michael Morris said.

He said the nine states that had challenged the Department of Justice settlement also had plenty of ammunition to appeal their case.

“The weak steps that Microsoft has taken to comply with the requirements already show that the settlement will be ineffective in curbing Microsoft’s monopolistic and anti-competitive practices and how difficult it will be to enforce,” Morris said.

Microsoft also faces private antitrust suits from consumers and from the world’s largest Internet media company, AOL Time Warner(NYSE:AOL – news).

A Microsoft spokesman said that his company was working on the Sun suit.

“That process is moving forward. We need to work together with others in the industry… including our competitors. (The settlement) offers opportunities for our competitors, but we will continue to compete in the marketplace,” he said.

Microsoft also faces private antitrust suits from consumers and from the world’s largest Internet media company, AOL Time Warner(AOL.N).

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