Microsoft trial lumbers back to life - 04 Jan 1999

The Microsoft antitrust trial resumed Monday after a two week holiday, bringing Intuit CEO chairman and CEO William Harris to the stand. Harris discussed the aborted 1994 merger with Microsoft saying that the software giant coerced it into an agreement to be bought. He says that Microsoft entered into an exclusive agreement with Visa so that Microsoft's Money would work properly while Intuit's Quicken would not. He also says that Microsoft entered into an exclusive agreement with Compaq two years ago so that Money, not Quicken, would be bundled on the world's best selling computers.

"We complained to Compaq," Harris said. "But Compaq said simply that was the way things were. We felt that was all we could get." \[Compaq later agreed to bundle both Money and Quicken.\]

A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that Microsoft had entered into a deal with Visa, but said that it wasn't quite what Harris described.

"Visa was one of the few with an effective online back-end processing. It was exclusive from both sides," the spokesperson said.

Another big topic of the day was whether Microsoft's monopoly operating system was an "essential facility" that is required for users to carry out their day-to-day business. Harris said that Windows is, indeed, an essential facility.

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