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Spin and counterspin in MS-Bristol suit

Victory for both sides? Well, they both claim to be very pleased...

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Both Microsoft and Bristol Technology spun merrily into the New Year after a judge's ruling that both sides could paint as a victory. Bristol, which is suing Microsoft claiming anticompetitive behaviour, was refused immediate access to Microsoft source code, but the judge threw out Microsoft's application for dismissal. The trial will therefore go ahead from 1 June. Bristol had applied for a preliminary injunction forcing Microsoft to turn over source. In 1997 Microsoft terminated an agreement which gave the Unix developer access to Windows source code, so Bristol's application for the injunction was effectively an attempt to implement a 'business as previous' arrangement while the company got on with suing the crap out of Microsoft. Microsoft is claiming the denial of the injunction as a massive victory. Bristol however points to several aspects of Judge Janet Hall's ruling that favour it. Says Hall: "Bristol has thus shown a substantial likelihood that it will be able to prove antitrust injury at trial." And more disturbingly for Microsoft: "Moreover, there is ample evidence that Microsoft intended to harm Bristol with respect to limiting the effectiveness of its Wind/U product." Microsoft on the contrary claims that the judge says that Bristol is unlikely to prevail on every single one of the 14 claims Bristol has made. In which case one wonders why she's bothering with the trial. ® Complete Register trial coverage

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