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February 10, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

By Nick Patience in Washington

Brad Chase, Microsoft Corp’s VP of its personal and business systems division and its sixth witness in the antitrust trial, will take the stand this morning and attempt to repair some of the damage done to the company’s case by the testimony of Cameron Myhrvold, who stepped down last night. Chase, who is senior to Myhrvold, will deal primarily with the company’s one-time enemy and subsequent partner, America Online Inc. On March 12 1996 AOL signed an agreement to license the componentized version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Prior to that AOL had been a Netscape Navigator maven and even though AOL is in the process of acquiring Netscape now, it has repeatedly said that it will continue to ship the IE browser as the basis for its proprietary online service. Having lost the debate over its ISP contracts, in most observer’s opinions, Chase will be trying to convince the court that things were different with the biggest contract of all, the one with AOL. Chase has been in court all this week paying close attention and hearing his name brought up numerous times. Lead government attorney David Boies made a point of putting documents on the Chase pile as Myhrvold often complained Boies’ questions were about subjects that Chase had authority over, not him. Chase’s 77-page written testimony, which was published yesterday claims that AOL chose IE because it was the better option from a technical point of view and it went with it for that reason alone. He highlights the fact that there was still a great deal of public animosity between the two companies at the time of the deal, who were competing in the online service market, which AOL now dominates. Chase contends that Netscape did not offer a componentized browser at the time – a fact that has been confirmed numerous times in this case – and he claims that Netscape arrogantly suggested that AOL would have to accept whatever it was given by Netscape – an attitude that help persuade it to consider Microsoft. And the government’s contention that Microsoft has foreclosed Netscape’s ability to distribute its browser through deals like that with AOL, ignores that fact that, according to Chase, browsers are very easy to distribute, borne out by Netscape’s own Netscape Everywhere bulk distribution program.

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