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Bristol update: MS lawyers muzzle Compaq witness

Don't answer questions about intimidation - or else

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MS on Trial Bristol's lawsuit against Microsoft is scheduled to go to the jury this week, and for the last few days Microsoft's final witnesses have been taking the stand. One, Compaq VP Tim Yeaton was blocked by Microsoft attorneys from answering questions about Microsoft intimidation of Compaq, among other things. Yeaton, who'd earlier revealed that he'd been asked to testify for Microsoft in response to a request from Paul Maritz, was nevertheless acting in a personal capacity, and therefore was not in a position to say anything that could be deemed Compaq confidential. Questions in this area resulted in a string of objections, and instructions by Microsoft's attorneys not to answer. But the questions themselves went into the record: Q. Did Microsoft threaten to retaliate against Compaq if Compaq took steps to port specific elements of Windows to Unix? Mr. Frawley: Objection. Mr. Remis: I guess from our point, one, we'd object to the question for a variety of reasons, including no foundation and the form. But, in addition, to the extent that it calls for an answer that has anything to do with discussions between Compaq and Microsoft and is subject to a confidentiality or nondisclosure, then we instruct the witness not to answer. Q. Did Microsoft offer financial inducements to Compaq to use MainSoft product instead of Bristol's product to port elements of Windows to Unix? Mr. Frawley: Objection. [etc.] Mr. Schiavone: So you're instructing the witness not to answer? Mr. Remis: That's correct. Q. Did Microsoft offer to reduce royalty or payments for use of its products to Compaq if Compaq used MainSoft's product? Mr. Remis: Same objection and same instruction. Q. Mr. Yeaton, did Microsoft encourage Compaq not to do a technical evaluation of Bristol's product last year? Mr. Remis: [etc.] Q. Did Microsoft's representatives contact Compaq about using MainSoft's product shortly after Bristol filed its lawsuit against Microsoft? Mr. Frawley: Objection. [etc.] ® Complete Register Trial coverage

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