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DoJ vs MS trial delayed again

DoJ wants four more days to complete evidence from slow industry execs

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The start of US versus Microsoft may be delayed for four days, according to unconfirmed reports circulating early this morning, and attributed to a lawyer who wished to remain anonymous. It was suggested that both Microsoft and the DoJ wrote to Judge Jackson yesterday asking for a further four-day delay until Monday 19 October. This is the third delay that has been mutually agreed. Each time he has granted the request, the judge has indicated his unhappiness at a further delay. The initiative came from the DoJ, and Microsoft did not object. The reason this time is put down to some pre-trial depositions of witnesses and industry executives not yet having been completed. There is still a possibility that Microsoft will ask for a further delay, and appeal immediately if this were not granted. Meanwhile, the DoJ has again asked the court to compel Microsoft to produce documents in response to its first request. At an earlier hearing, no ruling was made about the first request because Microsoft said it was working with the DoJ on the issue and expected to be able to resolve it satisfactorily. In the event, the DoJ says in its Motion that "Microsoft produced stripped-down versions that cannot be used or analysed in an efficient manner", and Microsoft refuses to cooperate any further with the DoJ on the matter. The DoJ asked for several databases: "Microsoft Sales", "OEM Query" and "Datamart", and any other related databases from 1 January 1990 to date. Microsoft produced "Microsoft Sales" on three CD-ROMs with compressed text-file tables and insufficient information to allow the data to be extracted. The DoJ said in a Motion: "In short, it is as if Microsoft was required to produce to plaintiffs a working car, and instead it produced a box of parts and an incomplete assembly manual." The "OEM Query" database was produced as tables formatted in Access 7, with inadequate documentation. No version of the "Datamart" database has been produced. This request could be an excuse for Microsoft to seek a delay in the start of the trial, and to attach blame to the DoJ, although it is Microsoft that has been obstructive in providing the data in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. ® Click for more stories

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