Sun, Microsoft settle suit in billion-dollar pact

InfoWorld:

After years of legal wrangling, Microsoft and Sun agreed not to sue each other regarding any past patent infringement claims and to begin negotiations for a patent cross-license agreement. Sun will also be less vocal and visible in opposing Microsoft as it fights the recent European Commission's ruling against it, a Sun executive said.

Declaring a new relationship between itself and Microsoft, Sun also said that the companies have agreed to enable their products to better work together and have entered agreements on patents and other issues.

The agreement includes technical collaboration, giving access to each other's server technology, as well as Sun's licensing of Microsoft's communications protocols and Microsoft support of some Sun products.

The two companies will initially cooperate on Windows Server and Windows Client, but could expand to include cooperation on e-mail and database software. For example, engineers from both companies might work together on problems such as user identity management, allowing information to be more easily shared between Microsoft's Active Directory and Sun's Java System Identity Server identity management products.

Also under the agreement, Microsoft and Sun will work together to improve collaboration between the Java and .NET technologies, while Microsoft will be allowed to continue to provide product support for the Microsoft Java Virtual Machine in its products. Microsoft was set to end support later this year, raising compatibility and security questions for users.