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Tuesday, November 10, 1998 Published at 22:11 GMT


Microsoft 'tried to influence Intel'

Bill Gates denies violating antitrust laws

Software giant Microsoft tried to persuade the world's largest computer chip manufacturer, Intel, to use a Microsoft-developed version of a programming language widely used on the Internet, an Intel executive has alleged.

Microsoft
Microsoft stands accused by the US Justice Department of violating antitrust laws by trying to stifle competition.

Intel executive Steven McGeady was appearing as a government witness in the case.

He told the court that Microsoft was "very upset" that Intel was working on the programming language, Java, at all.

He said the software giant wanted Intel to adopt a version of Java adapted by Microsoft.

Java is a direct threat to Microsoft because it can operate independently of the company's Windows operating system.

Sun Microsystems, which introduced the Java programming language, has accused Microsoft of wanting to tamper with its product.

Government lawyer David Boies presented an extract from Microsoft chief Bill Gates' pre-trial videotaped deposition in which the Microsoft boss is asked if his company made any effort to convince Intel not to help Sun with Java.

Mr Gates replied: "Not that I know of," after a 30-second pause for reflection.

When asked the same question in court, Mr McGeady said: "Repeatedly and on multiple occasions."

He has handed over to the government notes that he took in July 1995 during a meeting with Mr Gates.

According to the notes, Mr Gates insisted that "this anti-trust thing will blow over" and that "we haven't changed our business practices at all" - even if procedures designed to ensure the security of e-mail messages might have to be changed.

Internal Microsoft documents and e-mail messages are central to the government's charge that Microsoft abused its monopoly of the operating systems market to create a similar position for itself in sectors relating to the Internet, such as the browser sector.

Mr McGeady told the court that Microsoft considered the browser sector to be its special property.



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