Smoking memos that support Netscape's carve-up tales
New documentation indicates that Netscape's 'fantasy' originated the day after the companies met -- spooky, eh?
"Netscape had what the government would consider a monopoly in the market for Internet browsers until the Great Satan [clearly a Register reader] Microsoft came along," John Warden, Microsoft's trial lawyer said in his opening remarks. Referring to the meeting between Netscape and Microsoft at which it is alleged that a carve up of the browser market was discussed (or "some sort of collaborative effort", as Warden put it), he described the account by Marc Andreessen as "a fantasy that arose from the naivete" of a Netscape executive, deprecating Andreessen for his youth, it would seem. Warden also had another explanation if this claim of a collaboration for the benefit of mankind generally were not believed: it could have been a Netscape fabrication to gain the government's protection in the marketplace: "The evidence will show it was either one or the other," Warden claimed, apparently unsure which story would be the crowd pleaser. It sounded as though Microsoft was on a fishing expedition in the courtroom, which happened to be in the same building where Monica Lewinsky told her version of other events. Warden also claimed that "there was no proposal by Microsoft that Netscape cease development of an Internet browser for Windows 95", but this is hardly surprising, since had Netscape decided to go along with Microsoft's indecent proposal, it could not have given up officially on Windows 95 browser development since to do so would be to invite a serious antitrust investigation for illegally dividing the market. Documents that came to light last week have created a new and serious problem for Microsoft about this meeting, because a Netscape attendee at the meeting emailed an executive at Apple the day after the meeting with an account as to what had happened, noting that "if Netscape didn't do the deal, Microsoft would crush them". This memo is a particular problem for Microsoft because it has claimed that Netscape concocted its account of the meeting much later, after it began to lose market share to Microsoft. And how strange that Microsoft also wanted a seat on Netscape's board, unless it were to watch that its wishes were being followed. This development does not augur well for Microsoft. ® Complete Register trial coverage Click for more stories