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February 8, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

By Nick Patience in Washington

The fifteenth week of the Microsoft Corp antitrust trial is expected to be a series of quick fire rounds, with William Poole stepping down tomorrow morning, to be followed by Cameron Myhrvold, a VP in charge of relationships with ISPs and network providers, and then Poole’s boss, Brad Chase, who watched all of yesterday’s proceedings in the court and who expects to take the stand sometime tomorrow, Wednesday. Poole’s time on the witness stand ended yesterday on a confrontational note, when lead government attorney David Boies questioned a survey Poole had included in his written testimony, which claimed to show that only 4.7% of web users surveyed stated that they first became aware of a web site that they now frequently visit through a pre-configured browser setting or start page. Boies asked why the survey, conducted in September 1998 on Microsoft’s behalf by Taylor Nelson Sofres Intersearch had not been supplied to the government team during the discovery period. Poole didn’t know. Boies suggested to Poole that this figure was inaccurate and the true number was more like 70%. Boies asked what question had been asked to get the figure, but again, Poole did not know, saying it was a whole set of questions. Then despite this being the last subject on which Boies wanted to question Poole, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson called all sides to the bench and then adjourned the court until this morning. Myhrvold, the brother of Microsoft CTO Nathan, says in his written testimony that Microsoft’s various relationships with internet service providers had not prevented them from shipping Netscape Navigator as well, which is contrary to the government’s allegations. Of the ten ISPs in the Windows 95 referral server folder, six of them also offered Netscape’s browser, he writes. The referral server enables users to dial-in to an access point before they get on to the internet, and if they do not have an account with an ISP already, to establish one with one of Microsoft’s ISP partners. Myhrvold adds that a position on the referral server is not vital to an ISP’s business and Microsoft voluntarily waived the provisions in April 1998 because it had not made any real effort to enforce them. He puts Netscape’s lack of penetration in the ISP market to it ignoring the smaller ISPs and charging too much for licensing its browser. Myhrvold will no doubt downplay the importance of positioning on the Microsoft desktop, in much the way as Poole has tried to yesterday regarding the Active Desktop. At one point, to raised eyebrows and barely suppressed laughs in the court, he claimed that Microsoft didn’t really control the Windows desktop anyway – the PC manufacturers did. á

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