Tuesday, 12 January, 1999, 18:28 GMT
Microsoft's 12 angry men
The United States versus Microsoft is at the halfway stage
By Internet Correspondent Chris Nuttall
After nearly three months and hundreds of megabytes of testimony uploads to Websites, the Microsoft monopoly trial is at its halfway point with the US government's allotted 12 witnesses completing their testimony.
Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson had optimistically hoped to wind up the proceedings by last Christmas, but Spring is now a more realistic target after the lengthy cross-examinations of the government's men by Microsoft lawyers
Although it has introduced videotaped and written depositions from a number of witnesses, notably the Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, the Justice Department has built its case around the evidence of its 12 key witnesses.
Microsoft will also be able to call twelve people to testify when its defence begins. Here is a half-time report on what the 12 angry men said about Microsoft:
October 19 - James L. Barksdale,
President and chief executive, Netscape
At a meeting on 21 June 1995 Microsoft tried illegally to split the browser market with Netscape. It also used its market power to extract exclusionary deals with many of the largest pc makers and Internet Service Providers to make sure its browser was used by them. It told Compaq, for example, that if it tried to replace the Internet Explorer icon with the rival Netscape Navigator icon on the screens of its Presario computers, Microsoft would withdraw the company's Windows 95 licence.
- October 27 - David M. Colburn, senior vice president, America Online
In March 1996, America Online, the world's biggest online service provider, says it agreed to make Microsoft's Internet Explorer its main browser in exchange for a choice spot on the Windows desktop. The government says this was an exclusionary deal that stifled competition.
- October 30 - Avadis Tevanian Jr.
senior vice president, Apple Computer
Microsoft threatened to stop developing software for the Macintosh unless Apple dropped its support for Netscape. Mr Tevanian insisted Apple would not have used IE as its default browser if it were not for Microsoft's threat to discontinue development of the Microsoft Office suite of programs for the Mac. The company also wanted Apple to drop its Quicktime multimedia player, used extensively on the Internet, and leave the market to Microsoft.
- November 9 - Steven D. McGeady, vice president, Intel
Mr McGeady said that Microsoft had described its policy towards Netscape in a meeting as "embrace, extend, exterminate".
He was present when Microsoft executive Paul Maritz said Microsoft would "cut off Netscape's air supply".
- November 13 - Glenn Weadock, Computer consultant
Mr Weadock argued there were disadvantages in integrating a browser with an operating system. Microsoft argues it has integrated Explorer into windows as an improvement for consumers. "No-one outside Microsoft has ever viewed a Web browser as being part of an operating system," he said.
- November 17 - John Soyring,
Director, IBM network computing software, previously in charge of IBM's OS/2 development
IBM's OS/2 operating system was down to 6% of sales in 1996, compared with Microsoft's 92%.
Mr Soyring's testimony pointed out that "many of the agreements under which Microsoft licenses tools to software developers restrict use of the tools to developing for Windows", with the consequence that developers often could not use the same tools to develop for OS/2.
- November 18 - Frederick Warren-Boulton, a consultant economist
Dr Warren-Boulton said that AOL had gained 1,700,000 new subscribers as a result of the prominent placement of the AOL icon in Windows. He pointed out that Microsoft had used focus groups to determine what price to charge for Windows, with the possibilities suggested being $49, $89 and $129. The wide range of pricing open to the company indicated that it held a monopoly, he said.
December 2 - James A. Gosling,
vice president, Sun Microsystems
Microsoft tailored Java for its Windows operating system, making it incompatible with the standard Java language developed by Sun.
The government alleges Java, with its open standards, was a serious threat to Microsoft's proprietary approach. It sought to destroy it because of its ability to run on any operating system.
- December 7 - David J. Farber,
Computer Science department, University of Pennsylvania
Microsoft is wrong to claim that integrating Internet software with Windows improves the efficiency of both products. Rather, separating them provided a lot of benefits.
- December 11 - Edward W. Felten,
Computer scientist, Princeton University
Mr Felten had written a program for the government that was able to extract the Internet Explorer browser from the Windows operating system without affecting it adversely- something Microsoft said could not be done.
- December 30 - William H. Harris, Intuit chief executive
Intuit was concerned at steps being taken by Microsoft to prevent Intuit's Quicken personal finance software from working with Netscape's Navigator browser.
Intuit said that to get its logo on Microsoft's Active Desktop screen, it would have to forego any relationship with Netscape.
- January 5 - Franklin M. Fisher,
Economist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Microsoft's pricing strategy is clearly predatory and anticompetitive
and prove it is a
monopoly that has violated the law. He
said the price for computers had dropped while the
price for Windows had risen. He
had found that Microsoft exercises monopoly power by "rewarding
various (computer makers) for cooperation."
The case continues.
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