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February 21, 1999

NOTES FROM THE MICROSOFT TRIAL

By CBR Staff Writer

– Tom Siekman, general counsel for Compaq Computer Corp, returned to the subject of BeOS Inc Friday. Compaq, he said, had not violated any non-disclosure agreement between BeOS and itself. It was rather, he said, an honest business mistake, that the company had revealed to Microsoft Corp that it was speaking to BeOS about alternative operating systems to Redmond’s Windows CE OS. Microsoft spokesman Mark Murray addressed comments made by BeOS’ CEO in the press by claiming that, as a rival, it was in Be’s best interest to throw mud at Microsoft.

– The shortest antitrust case in history? The government side has said that it will try really hard not to go into March, while admitting that witness cross-examination may not be completed by the end of February. This led some on the government side to speculate that this case may be the shortest in antitrust history. It runs like this – witnesses completed in February, a break for March, and then six rebuttal witnesses followed by representations to the judge. If that all runs to the expected schedule, Judge Jackson’s ruling could be made in late July. Of course this doesn’t take into account any remedy hearings, or appeals, if the ruling does not go in Microsoft’s favor.

– John Rose’s statement that there was no viable alternative to Windows in the consumer operating systems market was seized upon by both sides. The government claimed that this proved Microsoft was a monopoly, while Microsoft noted that the Compaq man had also said if there was enough demand from consumers Compaq would preinstall other operating systems on their machines. Although, at the moment, Compaq’s open industry standard is Microsoft.

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