Sun lawsuit good PR, bad for users, says analyst firm

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Leading analyst firm Forrester Research has dismissed Sun Microsystems latest lawsuit against Microsoft as good public relations, but bad news for end users.

Sun has filed a private lawsuit against Microsoft in a bid to restrain alleged anticompetitive conduct by Microsoft and "remedy the damage suffered by Sun" as a result of Microsoft's business practices.

One the primary motivations is to keep the heat on Microsoft, argues Forrester analyst Joshua Walker. “Many feel like Microsoft got off easy with the settlement of the first Sun lawsuit,” he says. “Sun's fear is that Redmond's desktop power will extend to greater influence in the Web services market, making competition impossible.”

But there’s also the uncomfortable reality that Sun’s software product reputation is on the wane. From that point of view, this latest action gives the company a valuable PR shot in the arm.

“Sun will argue that there is no correlation between this lawsuit and its efforts to play catch-up in the software business,” says Walker. “This lawsuit gives Sun the headlines it needs to convince companies that it is still seriously competing head-to-head with Microsoft.”

But this could backfire as the lawsuit could give the impression that its software focus is actually secondary to it and reinforces the prevailing sour grapes over Java momentum theory. Overall Forrester reckons that the action could be bad for end users, if only because it is likely to slow standards development in the web service arena by making it difficult for Sun to participate in join industry initiatives.

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