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Trial day four: is Microsoft playing the boredom card?

As Jim Barksdale heads for a fourth day on the stand, we could be heading for the Big Z

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It is a fairly common practice for defendants against the DoJ to subject the principal witnesses against them to a long cross-examination. This has the effect of making the case appear to be Netscape versus Microsoft, rather than the US government against Microsoft. Microsoft also wishes to slow down the case, to make it as boring as possible, so that there are fewer headlines about it. It was interesting that David Boies, the DoJ's lawyer, said that Judge Jackson had not discussed speeding up the pace of the trial on Wednesday, during the meeting in his chambers after the court proceedings, as had been suggested by a lawyer who was present. It looks as though a lawyer from the 20 states is playing a private game, perhaps to create some pressure so that there will be time for the states to examine witnesses after the motion to this effect that is expected. The court will not sit on Fridays, Judge Jackson had decided in his ground rules for the conduct of the case, so Barksdale's cross examination will continue on Monday. Extracts from the Bill Gates tapes are expected next week, but it is likely that the cordon sanitaire that has been erected to protect him will prevent the tapes being released to the media. Since the American public has developed a taste for videotaped evidence, pressure will mount for their release. At the moment, the court of appeals has to decide whether to uphold the Congress-made law and release them, or to have some more judge-made law and suppress them. ® Complete Register trial coverage Click for more stories

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