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Gates & Co hit by group amnesia

Microsoft staff don't know what a browser is

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"Bill Gates . . . displayed a particular failure of recollection at his deposition," the Department of Justice says in the publicly-filed, heavily-censored version of its response to Microsoft's motion seeking summary judgement (dismissal) of the DoJ's case. This recollection problem of Gates has confused Microsoft watchers, who are united in their opinion that Gates has a very good memory indeed. The DoJ also makes another observation: "Mr Gates' testimony appears to be part of a pattern of Microsoft attempting to rewrite history. For example, . . . " and at this point the censorship begins again. The same memory affliction has affected Microsoft executives who are stated to be the author of documents but "claim not to remember writing them . . .recipients of documents claim not to remember receiving them. And both authors and recipients claim not to know what the documents mean." Witnesses also claim "they don't know what a browser is," the DoJ notes. The DoJ's 89-page court filing squarely counters Microsoft's motion "to create a virtual exemption from the antitrust [unfair competition] laws for Microsoft" and "to permit a software monopolist such as Microsoft to use anti-competitive means to entrench and extend its monopoly without fear of judicial intervention." The most detailed part of the DoJ's filing is concerned with setting out how Microsoft countered Java and Netscape's browser in order to maintain "the most durable monopoly in the economy today". There is a strong suggestion that the DoJ has unearthed "smoking gun" documents that will be produced at the trial, but which are not yet made public. There will be a brief hearing in the federal court in Washington on 11 September to determine whether the case should be dismissed. From the evidence that the DoJ has been able to disclose, legal observers feel this is most unlikely. It is also considered doubtful that Microsoft would appeal if it loses on this issue, in order not to upset the Microsoft-sympathetic court of appeals should it need its services later. ® Related information US Government vs Microsoft

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