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MS moves to block court briefs – Caldera skeletons rattle?

Bristol, Caldera witness savaged in Redmond filing

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Microsoft is attempting to block attempts to file "friends of court" briefs by a collection of known enemies of Microsoft. Somewhat uncharacteristically the company feels that one such brief from either side will be perfectly adequate - but then Microsoft seems to have rather less friends available to fight its corner in the antitrust appeal.

On Microsoft's side we have the Association for Competitive Technology and the Computing Technology Industry Association, who have agreed to file a single brief between them. ACT is backed by Microsoft, and in addition to having had its trash rifled by Oracle, recently published a study claiming Microsoft breakup could cost the world $310 billion. CompTIA has been substantially less vocal on the subject, but its antitrust counsel Lars Liebeler managed a lash-out in the wake of Judge Jackson's finding of facts.

The ranks on the other side are considerably denser. We have AOL, the Computer & Communications Industry Association, the Project to Promote Competition and Innovation in the Digital Age, and the Software and Information Industry Association. Then there's The Assocation for Objective Law, the Center for the Moral Defense of Capitalism, and three interesting names - Lee A Hollaar, Carl Lundgren and Laura Bennett Peterson.

AOL and the rest of the first batch are, in Microsoft's view, sworn enemies of Redmond. The trade associations are heavily backed by "the self-described 'Gang of Four,' i.e. IBM, Netscape (now AOL), Oracle and Sun." Microsoft is of course right about the underlying motivation here, and might also be right to point out that the interlocking memberships of the trade associations could surely find a way to pool their thoughts.

But Microsoft reserves most of its ire for Peterson, Lundgren and Hollaar - Hollaar in particular. Professor Hollaar of the University of Utah "has made something of a career of testifying against Microsoft," says the company's filing. Indeed, he's been fairly busy on the subject - Hollaar supported both Bristol and Caldera in their antitrust actions against Microsoft, and in the Caldera case did quite a lot of work in the area of the integration of Dos and Windows to form Windows 95.

Hollaar knows where quite a few bodies are buried, but Microsoft says he has "apparently forgotten" that he "became acquainted with the source code of Microsoft's operating systems in the Caldera and Bristol cases pursuant to protective orders that strictly prohibit him from using that knowledge for any purpose other than preparing his testimony in those cases."

As smears go, this is a particularly blatant one. The Good Prof wants to file a friend of court brief, so automatically that means "Mr [sic] Hollaar's willingness to breach obligations imposed on him by other federal courts to preserve its confidentiality should not be countenanced."

In this case, if the court will let him, Hollaar wishes to cover the appeals court's earlier ruling overturning Jackson's preliminary injunction instructing Microsoft to separate Windows and IE. Hollaar wishes to argue that the court was wrong then, and to cover the implications of the decision. This would clearly be unwelcome to Microsoft.

Microsoft is of course also particularly sensitive about all of the dirty tricks evidence Caldera presented, but as it happens Hollaar seeems to have been remarkably restrained on the subject. His resume details simply point to the case details that used to be at drdos.com. This site seems mysteriously down at time of writing, while Caldera - which settled with Microsoft out of court - equally mysteriously seems to have lost all site memory of the whole action. But Google cache remembers, and so do we. ®

Caldera case memory lane:
Unsealed Caldera files detail MS evidence shredding claims
Caldera judge finds MS 'grossly misprepresented' facts
Caldera case report: Microsoft's smoking pistol

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