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MS moves to block Intuit testimony

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In his direct testimony Intuit CEO William Harris fingered Microsoft for discriminatory and exclusionary behaviour, forcing Intuit to agree to have no dealings with Microsoft's competitors. Harris' testimony deals with a significant part of the DoJ's Complaint that started the present action last May: the power that Microsoft has to control the first screen on boot-up, and the future consequences of this. Microsoft has filed a Motion to have parts of Harris' testimony struck from the record because it consists of "hearsay statements, immaterial discussions of events not at issue in the case" and the like. But Harris had direct discussions with Pete Kight, the CEO of CheckFree Corporation, which Microsoft had approached as a partner for the proposed WinATM project, so the evidence is hardly hearsay'. He also received information from Mike Maples, then executive VP of Microsoft. It seems that one of Microsoft's real concerns is that Harris' testimony reveals a Microsoft strategy to make many Web pages only viewable with Internet Explorer. In addition, Harris is the first DoJ witness to make some suggestions as to remedies (which Microsoft asks the Court to ignore in its Motion). Harris pleads for "operating system neutrality," but this is unlikely to give Intuit the flexibility it would wish because of the very real difficulty of enforcing it. Microsoft makes the dismissive claim that Harris' testimony mostly reads "like a position paper written by a lawyer representing one of Microsoft's competitors", but if a lawyer did assist, it was with a very light and rather inexpert touch. The written testimony does not refer to the most powerful potential remedy: for the Court to declare that Windows is an essential facility (although this was mentioned by Harris from the witness stand). Ironically, Intuit had helped to bring about its utter dependence on Microsoft by stopping development of versions of its products for other operating systems. Intuit's garrotte is at least partly self-inflicted, and Harris' statements such as: "I have formed a genuine respect for [Microsoft] and its employees" and that Microsoft makes "good products" do little to advance Intuit's cause. ® Complete Register trial coverage

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