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Transcripts and videotapes of Microsoft antitrust depositions will be made available to the public, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly decided yesterday. The Judge's order, made in response to requests from the usual group of suspects in the newspaper industry, covers Steve Ballmer, Jim Allchin, Jim Barksdale (ex-Netscape) and Mitchell Kertzman of Liberate. She has also granted access to any deposition that might be made by Sun chairman Scott McNealy, but as nobody seems to want to depose him anyway, it's not immediately clear why.

Scott however is perfectly capable of deposing himself and making it public, so no doubt we'll be hearing from him anyway. Kollar-Kotelly has not granted quite the widespread access to transcripts that was available in the previous phase of the case, although the net effect is likely to be similar, as in most cases relevant evidence will be produced during the hearings, and hence will become public.

From a distribution point of view, however, matters are currently less clear. Whereas under Judge Jackson's regime the DoJ and Microsoft busily produced transcripts and exhibits and published then on the web, neither party is going to be particularly enthusiastic about future events. They, after all, have agreed a settlement and now want everything to go away. And The Register has noted a certain sluggishness in Microsoft's trial news updating of late. Which is understandable - we often wondered what the company's motivation was, during the time when it was telling us all how badly it'd been beaten around the head by David Boies the previous day.

So unless the States still litigating get their act together a little bit better, we may already be moving out of the web phase of the trial. ®

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