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Fishing trip nets MS Sun secrets, but no evidence

So under the circumstances, mustn't grumble...

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MS on Trial It was valuable for Microsoft to be able to have access to the legal documents about the AOL-Netscape-Sun deals, so that it could develop a strategy that would have the maximum effect against the intentions gleaned from the documents. It would be hard for AOL to change its plans significantly as a consequence of this, since to do so would result in a sub-optimal plan in most cases. It is a great pity that the law does not allow reciprocal discovery by AOL and Sun of Microsoft's sealed documents that reference them. Microsoft had hoped to find some major indications that AOL had some secret plan to use the Netscape browser, but there were no surprises. According to AOL svp David Cole, an analysis of the merits of swapping Communicator for IE was never done. It transpired that in September 1998, Netscape had delivered to AOL a beta version of a componentised browser (codenamed Raptor, and also Gecko, it appears), and that Netscape was confident that it could have a golden master by 1 December 1998. One area of concern to Microsoft was AOL's plans for embedded browsers in non-Wintel devices. Colburn said AOL's efforts were still at a very preliminary stage, but it appeared likely that he knew more than he volunteered in his response. Microsoft was very keen to find out if Sun was going to play any role in browser development. Colburn characterised Sun's role as being focussed on the enterprise side and that it would carry out "some of the heavy lifting and doing future versions of the browser". That should give Microsoft something to think about. ® Complete Register Trial coverage

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