Feeds

MS strives to prove potential AOL, Netscape pact anti-competitive

Colbourn cross-examination continues...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The cross-examination and rebuttal of AOL VP David Colburn continued all day, with John Warden, Microsoft's trial attorney, trying to establish that from late-1995, Netscape and AOL were discussing the possibility of AOL taking Navigator, with provisions to avoid competition. It would be illegal for a monopolist to have such discussions, but not probably for AOL and Netscape as the point of the collaboration was to was to compete against Microsoft. In the event the discussions did not result in an agreement, because AOL was wooed by Microsoft. Warden tried to make something of AOL's desire to run Netscape's Web site in early 1996, which was an alternative to AOL having a seat on Netscape's board. At the time, AOL feared both Microsoft and Netscape, the former because of MSN, the latter because Navigator presented a non-proprietary world to AOL subscribers. Colburn explained to Warden that AOL was trying to establish a strategic relationship and united front against Microsoft. Warden tried to make the case that AOL customers had a choice of browsers, but Colburn said it was non-trivial for users to work out how to do this. Colburn's testimony gives considerable detail as to how further agreements with Microsoft limited AOL's ability to help its customers who wanted an alternative. The line of questioning did little to progress the case, but Judge Jackson did not intervene. It seemed as though Warden had been told to spin things out so that Ball Gates' video testimony would not be run excessively over the Halloween weekend. David Boies, the DoJ's trial lawyer, was asked afterwards if Microsoft was filibustering, but he declined to comment in view of his nearness to Capitol Hill, he said, where legislation is often talked out by over-long speeches. Warden continued to press the Microsoft view that it "won" AOL because it had a superior product in Internet Explorer, but the evidence that AOL's presence with Windows 9x was highly important for AOL is very convincing. A lighter moment arose when email messages between Case and Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale revealed some role playing. Microsoft was "Hitler", Case was "Franklin D" and Barksdale was initially "Stalin", but after complaining that his character was not very politically correct, he became instead "Winston C". A letter from Case to Barksdale suggested pooling technologies, since Netscape was "primarily in the enterprise software business", and AOL was primarily in the consumer online business. Warden did not manage to make a convincing case that non-consummated agreements by non-competing partners were a potential problem in competition law. Boies claimed that there could be no antitrust violation because AOL operated principally in the online service business and Netscape in the server software business. The concern is growing that even if the DoJ wins the case, any remedy in the client space will probably be inadequate in the server space. ® Click for Register trial coverage Click for more stories Click for story index

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft exits climate denier lobby group
ALEC will have to do without Redmond, it seems
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.