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Testimony points to corporate hostility to integration of IE

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The news of Sun's preliminary injunction and the start of John Soyring's evidence almost eclipsed attention from DoJ expert witness Glenn Weadock's evidence, but there were some interesting developments. Richard Pepperman, an attorney for Microsoft, continued his attack on Weadock, claiming that his research methods were questionable. Weadock had interviewed a number of users from a list provided by the DoJ, who had in turn been fed some leads from Netscape. The problem for Microsoft is that the DoJ is the plaintiff in the action, not the defender of Microsoft, so such an ambush cannot have any legal weight. The DoJ does not have to show that many people are indifferent or insufficiently knowledgeable to make choices [with the result that choices are fast disappearing]. Weadock would not be shaken from his view that "a browser is not a commodity, it is an application". Scott Vesey, a Boeing product manager who was originally named as a witness but appeared on video, was characterised by Microsoft as a low-level employee. This is a standard Microsoft ploy that is even used against Microsoft vice presidents who have made some remark that grates with Gates. Boeing, it turned out, did not want to distribute IE with Windows 95 so it used the earliest version, which does not have IE. The DoJ also produced evidence that Gateway and Packard Bell did not want to have the IE icon compulsorily cluttering the desktop. An email from James von Holle to Gayle Mclean at Microsoft noted: "we need to be able to remove icons the customer does not want. We want IE to have 'uninstall' for as much of the code as possible without disabling the system." Von Holle saw desktop 'clutter' as being confusing to users. John Kies of Packard Bell said on video that he was concerned that installing IE and Navigator would take up a great deal of disk space. Steven Holtzman, a DoJ attorney, quizzed Weadock as to how Novell bundled a browser with NetWare. Weadock said: "It's a very loose bundling. It offers customers significant choices, such as whether to delete the browser." Internal email at Microsoft showed that the earlier inability of IE to work with Unix and the Mac OS was a key reason for many corporations not choosing IE over Navigator. An interesting February 1998 Compaq document unearthed by Weadock showed that when a sample of Dun & Bradstreet companies was quizzed, it was found that 80 per cent of them wiped the disk of new PCs and reinstalled OSR2 [version 2 of the OEM release], or the browser-less retail version. The courthouse steps spin from Microsoft was that consumers had always had complete freedom of choice" while the DoJ said that the court of appeals ruling "did not give Microsoft the right to prohibit the removal of a browser by an OEM". ® Complete Register trial coverage

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