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Intel to testify in Microsoft case today

And this one will be verbal only, so pay attention at the back

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A key tenet of Microsoft's defence will be an argument that it benefited consumers with its various practices. This appears to be rather hard to do, as there are few cases where there remains a competitor after Microsoft has cast its shadow over some software area that it wishes to enter. It would be hard for Microsoft to succeed in making in court the case that spokesman Mark Murray has been making on the courthouse steps -- that the DoJ brought the case to "benefit Microsoft's competitors". A problem for Microsoft is that the cost of Windows has been increasing while for just about all other software categories costs have been decreasing. There is a possibility that the case, if appealed, would go straight to the supreme court and avoid the court of appeals. A district court judge has the power to certify a case in this way if it is "of general public importance in the administration of justice". If and when this might take place is a matter of considerable conjecture, but as Microsoft now seems unlikely to capitulate during the present hearing, an appeal is very likely in the event that Microsoft loses this round. There is now much more awareness that decisions need to be made sufficiently quickly if they are to have any effect, but the courts still move too slowly for anything but a radical solution to be effective. Should Jackson find for the DoJ, there would still be a hearing to determine the remedies, which could take many months. Certainly Microsoft would like the case to go on for as long as possible, since the issues become less and less relevant with the passing of time, as happened in the last IBM antitrust case which was abandoned in 1982. It should be remembered that although Microsoft lawyers are getting most of the court time at the moment during the cross-examination of prosecution witnesses (because most direct testimony is being presented in written form), this will reverse itself when Microsoft starts its defence. This afternoon should see Steven McGready of Intel giving his testimony. He was the only DoJ witness who refused to give written testimony in advance, to speed up proceedings. The reason for this is not certain, but Intel is trying to be seen as being neutral, so it will just answer the questions posed in court. However, since that decision was made, Intel has become bolder and crossed Microsoft three times, at least: by continuing to work with RealNetworks; by taking a stake in Red Hat; and in supporting Unix. One of the topics that will be probed is native signal processing, which Intel wanted in its processors and Microsoft in its software. Andy Grove put it bluntly: "We just caved." ® Complete Register trial coverage Click for more stories Click for story index

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