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Sun exec argues for tougher measures for Microsoft

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Sun chief strategy officer Jonathan Schwartz is the latest in a string of witnesses to argue in favour of tougher measures to control Microsoft. In testimony for the unsettling States' remedies proceedings Schwartz said that without tougher measures, Microsoft could use its Windows monopoly and dominant position in the browser market to push .NET, and to "direct users to its services in preference to competitors' services."

Already, he said, Microsoft is using Passport to excludes competitors, and is withholding information about Passport and .NET in order to make it more difficult for competitors' (i.e. Sun, in this case) software to work with them.

Schwartz points out that Web services which can be accessed via diverse devices such as PDAs and cellular phones, and which allow consumers to buy goods, book tickets and use the Internet, threaten Microsoft's dominance because they begin to cut the PC out of the picture. this however only holds good "so long [as Microsoft] is not allowed to interfere with market developments."

Schwartz's testimony follows similar arguments yesterday from SBC's Larry Pearson. SBC plans to kick off a unified messaging service from next year, and this will compete with Microsoft's own offerings in the area. If Microsoft locks competition out, or engineers matters so that its own software works better than rival software, then "we wouldn't have a product," said Pearson.

Pearson then came under fire from Microsoft attorney Dan Webb, who followed the now standard path of accusing SBC of lobbying for tougher measures against Microsoft for its own benefit. Webb claimed that SBC began this course after the breakdown of talks with Microsoft, and hoped that the remedies would "cripple" Microsoft, he said.

Again, Microsoft produced email indicating SBC's involvement in the crafting of the States' proposed remedies, but again there's probably less to this than meets the eye, in that if one is devising remedies intended to stop Microsoft competitors from being trashed, one feels kind of impelled to talk to those competitors. Not, indeed, that much of the email as reproduced on the Microsoft site does meet the eye. Steveb, could you get your people to photocopy straight, please? ®

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