Rebel States slam MS witness list

'Blatant disregard...' etc etc

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The nine States still pursuing the case against Microsoft yesterday asked the judge to bar 16 of Microsoft's witnesses, accusing the company of using "hide-the-ball" tactics by waiting until the last minute before filing the list. Microsoft's list includes 23 "previously undisclosed" witnesses, and maintains a certain coyness in that no less than seven of the mooted Microsoft witnesses may or may not actually take the stand.

These combine Oberkommando Redmond (Allchin, Ballmer, Gates) with execs in key, sensitive areas which are likely to come under sustained fire from the opposition. They are Linda Averett, product unit manager for the Windows Digital Media Platform division; Chris Jones, corporate VP, Windows Client Division; Will Poole, VP Windows Digital Medial; and Brian Valentine, senior VP, Windows division. Says Microsoft: "Depending on the evidentiary presentation made by the non-settling states at the remedies hearing, Microsoft may call fewer than all of the witnesses whose names are preceded by asterisks."

This presents the States with something of a moving target, but their objections are largely to the non-Microsoft witnesses. These do not, frankly, look like the basis of a devastating defence (oh dear, more economists...); Microsoft seems largely to have whipped up a clutch of chums from Compaq, Best Buy etc to say nice things about it. The presence of W J "Crazy Jerry" Saunders III of AMD may be something of a coup - but it's not clear for which side. Evidence presented earlier in the trial showed how Microsoft actually defended AMD against Intel, so Jerry may be poised to paint Redmond in the unlikely role of monopoly-buster.

The States are objecting on the basis that the new batch of witnesses, and the way it was produced, constitutes time-wasting. Microsoft has shown "blatant disregard for this court's schedule and for the reasonable and appropriate conduct of litigation." Microsoft meanwhile is accusing the States of being mere puppets of Larry "Crazy Larry" Ellison's Oracle. Ken Glueck, Oracle VP, Government affairs and public policy, is on Microsoft's witness list as an "adverse witness." He, Microsoft claims, largely devised the States' proposed remedies, and depending on how he performs (if Redmond succeeds in dragging him screaming to the box), he could have a certain smoking pistol potential. ®

Related links:
States' witness list unveiled

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