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'Linux made it, so what's the problem?' says Microsoft attorney

It's official -- any smart Helsinki student has a chance to destroy the Gates Empire

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Hitting back at the case laid out against his employer by the Department of Justice yesterday, Microsoft attorney John Warden described it as being an effort "to demonise Bill Gates... long on rhetoric and short on substance". He then proceeded to rely on, er, rhetoric and to recruit Linus Torvalds as exhibit A. "This is not really an antitrust case, but a return of the Luddites," said Warner, adding for the benefit of couch potatoes that the Luddites were a "19th Century group that went around smashing machines". This, The Register has to tell you, is something of a couch potato precis of what the Luddites were about, but there you go. Yesterday, the DoJ laid out a series of specific allegations of anticompetitive activity on Microsoft's part, while today Jim Barksdale of Netscape heaped more allegations onto Microsoft's corporate head. But Warner chose not to address them directly, at least for the moment. He sought to show that the lines between OS and application were too blurred to be defined specifically, saying: "The evidence will show that the drawing of hard and fast lines is not just difficult, but is impossible." Microsoft Office was a platform that developers could use, just as much as they could use Windows, he said. Basically, Warden is here trying to fight the case on the issue of where the boundaries between the OS and the app lie. He says it's impossible to define this point, QED Microsoft's integration activities can't be argued with. As regards the small matter of Microsoft's dominant position in the OS market, Warden pointed out that the company's position is by no means unassailable, and cited Linux as the evidence. "As Linus Torvalds has shown, one person in Helsinki, Finland [the country insert is another couch potato aid, we fear], can quickly write the core of a sophisticated operating system now used by millions of people." Our Linux readers will no doubt be cheered by the suggestion that -- at least for the purposes of evidence -- Linux now counts as a real threat to Windows. Struggling students developing state-of-the-art operating systems will also be comforted by no less a person than Microsoft's attorney asserting that they really do have the potential to take out Microsoft. And presumably, as nobody's ever suggests that Microsoft has attempted anticompetitive action against Linux, that could count as evidence of Bill's bona fides as well? ® Complete Register trial coverage Click for more stories

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