Microsoft evidence request denied

Microsoft Corporation filed a motion Wednesday in Federal District Court, asking Judge Jackson to reject the DOJ's latest attempts to expand the case against it by adding new charges. The request was denied on Thursday. Earlier this week, the DOJ filed an 89-page brief detailing Microsoft's alleged anti-competitive business practices and asked the judge to consider evidence that the company has engaged in a long-standing pattern of abuse of its competition with such companies as Apple Computer, Intel, and RealNetworks.

Then, in a late Thursday afternoon decision, Judge Jackson ordered Microsoft to turn over evidence related to its business dealings with Intel and Apple. He declined, however, to immediately rule on the new evidence. He said the issues would be addressed at a pre-trial hearing in two weeks. The ruling is, of course, a major setback for Microsoft, which says the government is trying to delay the trial, due to begin September 23rd.

"It is too late for \[the DOJ\] to change the rules of the game and add a variety of other matters to the case, which will transform it beyond recognition. \[The government's\] efforts to shift the focus of this litigation dramatically on the eve of trial is 'too much, too late,' threatening to convert this proceeding into trial by ambush," the company wrote its nine page motion. "\[The DOJ\] are seeking to head down a path that would either transform this case into an IBM-like 'kitchen sink' monstrosity, with a greatly expanded (and therefore necessarily delayed trial), or would deny Microsoft procedural due process by permitting \[the DOJ\] to expand the scope of their claims without warning on the eve of trial."

Microsoft's comments about IBM refer to a decades-long investigation of the computer giant's anti-competitive practices.

The list of new complaints is long, and would expand the case--in which the DOJ argues that the integration of Internet Explorer 4.0 in Windows 98 is anti-competitive--far beyond its current boundaries. New charges include:

  • Microsoft tried to stop Apple Computer from marketing its QuickTime multimedia software for Windows, because it competes with software that Microsoft created.

  • Microsoft asked Apple Computer to stop supporting Netscape and Java.

  • Microsoft created products that were incompatible with Apple Computer and Netscape Communications products specifically because those companies refused to bow to Microsoft's demands.

  • Microsoft specifically added code to a beta version of Windows 3.1 that makes it appear that Digital Research's DR-DOS operating system (which is now owned by Caldera) was incompatible.

  • Microsoft tried to force Intel Corporation from developing Native Signal Processing (NSP) because it was competitive with software Microsoft was planning.

  • Microsoft forced Intel to shut down a software development lab.

  • Microsoft pressured RealNetworks to halt development of its RealAudio software and not share the technology with Microsoft competitors.

  • Microsoft pressured customers and distributors to abandon support for Netscape Communication's Navigator Web browser and Sun Microsystem's Java programming language.

  • Microsoft illegally changed Sun's Java code.

  • Microsoft convinced Intuit, maker of Quicken, to drop Netscape and start using Internet Explorer.
Microsoft has responded to some of these charges, which it says are the subject of other court cases or, in some cases, have been otherwise resolved.

For more information about Microsoft's request to limit the scope of the trial, you can read the entire motion online at the Microsoft Web site

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