The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has subpoenaed documents from Sun Microsystems, arousing speculation that its investigation into the software developer's business practices was widening to cover its Java dispute with the workstation manufacturer.
A representative for Sun confirmed that the manufacturer had received a civil subpoena from the DoJ as well as from several states also investigating Microsoft.
Microsoft attempted to distance itself from this expansion in the investigation.
A representative for the software developer said the company had 'no way of knowing' whether or not the DoJ was now investigating the company's dealings with Sun.
He said: 'This is a completely anticipated step in the process. The Department of Justice has said that it wishes to look at a wide range of issues, and so it would have been more surprising if it had decided not to look into this.'
Microsoft is engaged in a civil suit with Sun about its Java licence.
Sun is claiming that Microsoft has violated the licence by using the Java logo on products that are not fully compatible with Sun's specification.
The Java issue previously came up at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing two weeks ago, when Sun president and CEO Scott McNealy called for a wider antitrust case against Microsoft.
Commenting on the conflict with Sun, a representative for Microsoft insisted: 'We are very confident that the court and the DoJ will recognise we are living up to every aspect of our contract with Sun.'
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