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DoJ posts final witness list

Apple, Sun supremos set to testify against Microsoft

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The final witness lists for the US vs Microsoft case, still scheduled for next Thursday but probably delayed until 19 October, were given yesterday. They are mostly as previously indicated, but the changes provide some clues as to current thinking. The DoJ has substituted Avi Tevanian, an Apple VP who would be able to elaborate on Microsoft's alleged attempts to subvert QuickTime and generally decrease competition in the multimedia sector. Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan was telling everybody yesterday that the DoJ is now trying to bring an additional case, since there is nothing about QuickTime in the original case. The story is in fact rather complex. Microsoft was caught red-handed with a couple of thousand lines of Apple code that just happened to make Video for Windows run faster. In fact, part of the code had been developed for Apple by the San Francisco Canyon Company, which was then contracted to write something similar by Intel. The code was then passed from Intel to Microsoft and ended up in Microsoft's code with the same comment lines as in Apple's code. It could well be that Microsoft was innocent in this case, but what can come out in court is a different matter -- it is how it comes out that counts. The other substitution is James Gosling, the developer of Java, who will be able to explain how Microsoft has been allegedly trying to subvert Java. The newly-released documents in the Sun vs Microsoft case show that the contract between Sun and Microsoft may just allow Microsoft to escape in this case. It appears from our reading that the decision will hinge on the definition of 'implemented' in the contract between Sun and Microsoft, which was drawn up in great haste just before Microsoft's conversion to the Internet in December 1995. It now appears that Microsoft may have set a trap in that contract. What Microsoft appears to have done was to have two critical pieces JVM code on its Web site for downloading, as required by the contract, but did not tell anybody where they were -- and made sure that the search engine could not find them. This will all be too much for Judge Jackson's court, and Gosling should be able to present the clear intention of Microsoft to subvert Java without the embarrassment of the possible inadequacy of the contract entering the proceedings. Microsoft has substituted sales VP Jeff Raikes for Yusuf Mehdi, who will be claiming that users were really keen to have Internet Explorer instead of Navigator. Raikes was also involved in negotiating with Apple. ® Click for more stories

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