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MS-backed trade group backs MS with trial brief

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MS on Trial The Washington-based Association for Competitive Technology (ACT), an industry lobbying group, has confirmed that it will be filing the amicus curiae (friend of court) brief on Microsoft's behalf this week. Judge Jackson is also expecting a similar brief on the DoJ's behalf. ACT most definitely swings the Microsoft way. When Judge Jackson's finding of fact was issued, ACT president Jonathan Zucker loudly denied that a monopoly was possible in the IT industry. Its Web site doesn't list its total membership, but the "Just a few proud members" section identifies Visio (relation), Symantec (defence witness), Sheridan Software, Sax Software, Microsoft (double relation), Elsinore Technologies, ComponentSource and Clarity Consulting. An impressive roster. Not. If we did cheap shots round here we'd point out that the ACT's current star in the "member showcase" is the IRA, Information Resource Associates, but we don't, so we won't. For the brief the ACT has retained Lloyd Cutler, a one-time special counsel to Presidents Carter and Clinton. Cutler represented US West in the so-called battle of Portland case concerning cable Internet access. Jonathan Zuck says that he has raised the money to pay for the brief from high-tech company contributions; one can always speculate about who in the disclosed membership has the most spare cash, but Zuck claims the money came from other members. So Symantec? Microsoft has also lined up support from a mixture of Democrat and Republican lawyers, including Boyden Gray who was counsel to President Bush; Griffin Bell, who was attorney general during President Carter's administration; and Nicholas Katzenbach, who was President Johnson's attorney general and who worked side-by-side with DoJ lead counsel David Boies in the IBM antitrust case. The next stage in the trial will be the filing by Microsoft tomorrow of its revised brief - essentially its legal defence - followed by a day in court on 22 February for final arguments. Bill Gates commented in Davos that "There's a good mediation process going on in Chicago," but he wouldn't comment any further. ®

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