Apple exec: Microsoft should be broken up

Apple Computer senior vice president of software engineering Avie Tevanian took the stand on Monday in the historic antitrust trial against Microsoft Corporation. Tevanian, who joined Apple with Steve Jobs from NeXT, alleges that Microsoft forced Apple to bundle IE with the Macintosh and attempted to get Apple to drop development of QuickTime for Windows (an Apple media technology). In fact, Tevanian says that Microsoft went to PC hardware manufacturers such as Compaq and convinced them not to use Apple's media software. Tevanian says that the Redmond giant needs to be stopped at all costs.

"Microsoft has used its control of certain critical application programs to impede competition with Microsoft's popular Internet browser, Internet Explorer," Tevanian said in his written testimony, which was released last weekend. "Once Microsoft dominates the market for Internet browsers, it will use that power to extend its control over not only the operating system market, but also other emerging markets that rely on the Internet."

Also, Tevanian says that Microsoft CEO Bill Gates threatened to halt development of the critical Microsoft Office suite for the Macintosh unless Apple agreed to drop an impending $1.2 billion patent infringement suit the company was planning. Apple not only dropped plans for the suit, but it accepted Gates' "offer" to make Internet Explorer the default browser on all new Macintoshes for the next five years.

"Withdrawal of Microsoft's support for its Office for Macintosh program would have \[had\] a devastating effect on the Mac OS," he said.

Attorneys for Microsoft attempted to have Tevanian's testimony thrown out, but Judge Jackson ruled today that it should be considered. Microsoft officials say that Apple approached Microsoft in March 1997, demanding $1.2 billion. The two companies eventually worked out a deal, including the licensing of IE, a $150 million investment in Apple by Microsoft, and the public pledge that Microsoft would continue to support the Macintosh

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