Sun puts in the boot with Microsoft trial deposition

Argues over integration

Brian Croll, director of product marketing for Sun's Solaris, was subpoenaed by Microsoft. He gave away nothing to his Microsoft inquisitor, who turned out to be Theodore Edelman (described in Microsoft's Slate webzine as "vampire-like"), the man who also failed to break Avie Tevanian of Apple. Microsoft was trying to show that HotJava for Solaris is integrated with the Solaris desktop. When Croll was shown a Sun document about the HotJava browser, he said he did not know what the author meant by the words – an argument that even Gates has not used to any effect. He put the boot in when Edelman did not apparently know the difference between a Mac and an operating system. Edelman evidently thought he could win some points because the word "integrate" was used a few times in Sun's sales literature, failing to understand that "integrate" was a marketing term, and that the browser could be removed by the user. Edelman persevered: "the document, it uses the word ‘integrate', doesn't it?" Croll tried to be helpful: "Apparently in the document it says integrate . . . I don't know what they mean by integrate . . . You know, words mean what you want them to mean." He knows all about Alice in Wonderland, it seems. Croll's deposition was in July, but one of his comments gave some insight into the Sun's thinking about Netscape: Edelman: Is there anything about that market that provides a reason for shipping the HotJava browser with Solaris? Croll: Yes. What I was saying earlier about having a degree of control over the browser and its technologies, that's critical because that's linked very closely to whether a server is useful or not. Edelman: What do you mean by that? Croll: You think of it this way: it's two sides need to talk to each other. If the browser can't talk to the server, then we can't sell servers. So, if we lose any kind of control over whether the browser can talk to our server or not, it will be very difficult for us to sell servers. Edelman: And how, if at all, does that affect your choice of which browser to ship with Solaris 2.6? Croll: One of the factors is we want to have one that we have some agree of degree of control over. So, HotJava is obviously something that Sun has control over. Edelman: Is the choice of the HotJava browser, does that relate to any perception that customers demand HotJava as opposed to a different browser? Croll: No. Edelman: Why not? Croll: They prefer to have another brand-name browser. Edelman: What's your basis for that? Croll: Just customer visits and hearing what people say and market share numbers and so forth. Edelman: And what have you heard in that respect? Croll: Typically, people value the Navigator brand, very, very deeply. Curtis Sasaki, was deposed by Theodore Edelman for Microsoft in July, with three lawyers for Sun, two DoJ lawyers, and one lawyer each for the states and Microsoft. In view of the testimony admitted, it was a severe case of overkill. Edelman showed his depth of preparation when he asked if Microsoft Office ran on the Java OS. He asked how many licenses there were for the Java OS (and was told 36, with 21 licensees for the HotJava browser and one for HotJava views). Microsoft then made the point in its daily press briefings that the browser was too slow. A point made by Sasaki was that many businesses did not want their employees to have access to Web browsing, a non-facility that Microsoft is unable to offer. ®

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