Microsoft calls "gang of four" to account for their actions

Novell not part of the gang anymore

Yesterday, Microsoft subpoenaed "the gang of four", as Microsoft calls them, plus Novell. Novell is not a gang member because it has just agreed to license Internet Explorer. Could this herald Microsoft licensing NDS? It would make sense. The gang was given until Friday to produce any incriminating documents that suggested they collaborated against Microsoft. Microsoft's filing on Tuesday -- a reply to its motion for a summary judgement -- is an iteration of previous arguments. It correctly criticises the DoJ for trying to find ways of removing IE4 from Windows 98 by looking at the files, and it certainly would have been more productive had the DoJ concentrated more on the motivation for the Microsoft's integration. The "users benefited" argument that Microsoft uses in its filing is also open to challenge: some third party software did not operate properly with Windows 98 as a direct result of the integration. In the document, Microsoft has decided not to rise to the bait of anti-competitive practices against Apple, Intel and RealNetworks, but prefers to lean heavily on the court of appeals expert technical decision (by three judges) that Windows 95 and Internet Explorer was an integrated product. Gates refused to answer questions about legal issues at the IDC European Forum in Paris earlier this week, where the audience was certainly capable of roughing him up. But in Lisbon on Tuesday, he told an invited audience that he forecast a win for Microsoft within six months, but "If we don't like what [the district court] does, we'll go to the appeals court. It could take as much as a year . . .". Of course, Gates said, Microsoft's competitors were using the case "to say really bad things about us". Gates was in Lisbon to open the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, and to check that nobody had been colouring the book he bought for his kid to colour [the Leonardo Codex Leicester, which is on display there]. ®

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