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February 18, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

By Rachel Chalmers

Microsoft Corp will face Caldera Inc in court on January 17, 2000. The case had been slated to start on June 7, but Microsoft’s lawyers succeeded in postponing the trial date for more than six months, presumably so that the Redmond software giant could concentrate its attention on another trial now taking place in Washington DC. The cases are not dissimilar, and the similarities are unflattering to Microsoft, a fact which may have contributed to the company’s desire for a long delay. Caldera alleges that Microsoft built proprietary and technically unnecessary hooks linking Windows 3.1 to MS-DOS so as to kill DR-DOS, in much the same way that the DOJ alleges Microsoft integrated Windows 98 with Internet Explorer in a bid to crush Netscape’s Navigator. Caldera’s one crumb of comfort is that Judge Dee Benson has said the January 17 date is solid and will not move again. We’re disappointed, admitted Caldera president Bryan Sparks, we thought we could hold the original date. Sparks adds, however, that this is a big case – Microsoft’s own lawyers have estimated that it will cost a billion and a half – and the trial date is, of course, entirely at the court’s discretion. Despite the delay, Sparks is confident of ultimate success. They can run but they can’t hide, he says. We’re going to get them eventually. The nine summary judgement requests Microsoft filed last week will be debated in open court from mid-April to May. Caldera’s rebuttals have to be in by the end of March. Microsoft wants the case dismissed altogether. Caldera says all nine summary judgements should be denied, and Sparks notes his surprise that these documents were so detailed, considering how touchy Microsoft has been about confidentiality in the past. In fact, a third matter which was also scheduled to be heard Thursday was the San Jose Mercury News’s motion requesting the court to unseal Microsoft’s confidential documents, but the judge didn’t get around to it. Sparks notes that another case intervened, with the defendant brought in in chains. Thanks to the success of Microsoft’s continuance motion, that’s about as much courtroom drama as Caldera can hope to see, for the time being at least.

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