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DoJ files on MS: ‘broad pattern of unlawful conduct’

Meanwhile, Microsoft dismisses its case as 'theatrics'

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MS on Trial The DoJ's counterblast to Microsoft's 'findings of fact' document, leaked earlier this week, has now been filed. At this stage of the trial the rivals lodge rival documents giving their interpretation of the facts established during the trial, and these are then considered by the judge. Microsoft span its 450 page version of events to selected press over the weekend, but the DoJ declined to play this particular ball game and held off its 800 page document until Tuesday, when it was due to be filed. The DoJ reiterates its claim that Microsoft "engaged in a broad pattern of unlawful conduct with the purpose and effect of thwarting emerging threats to its powerful and well-entrenched system monopoly." The case breaks down into several major themes. First, that Microsoft's 90 per cent OS market share gives it monopoly power, second that the company attempted to stifle growth of Java and potential rivals in the browser market, and third, that the company's activities had injured consumers by stifling innovation and impeding price decreases. The DoJ document is shot through with embarrassing internal documentation from Microsoft which lends support to these claims. Faced with this Microsoft's defence has taken an intriguing (some might say, desperate) approach. The company's own finding of facts relies heavily on the written evidence provided by its witnesses. This was fairly comprehensively dismantled by the DoJ in cross-examination, and the subpoenaed MS documents played a major part in undermining it . Microsoft, however, argues that all of this can be categorised as mere courtroom theatrics, and should therefore be discounted. The judge is thought unlikely to agree with this standpoint, however, and this will be a problem for Microsoft. The judge intends to deliver his decision in two parts, first with a finding of facts of his own, and then (possibly early next year) a final verdict. Appeals in such cases are generally made on the application of the law (i.e. part two of the judgement, here), rather than on the judge's finding of facts, so if the judge comes down for the DoJ in part one, MS will come under increasing pressure to settle, and there will be increasing speculation about possible remedies until the final verdict is delivered. ® Complete Register Trial coverage

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