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Microsoft Wants Notes From Authors

October 1, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Microsoft Corp. asked a federal judge Thursday in Boston to force two academic authors to turn over audio tapes and notes from interviews they conducted with executives from rival Netscape Communications Corp.

Microsoft contends the materials it wants _ including tape recordings and transcripts of those interviews plus letters or e-mail between the authors and Netscape _ will help it fight the government’s upcoming antitrust case.

Microsoft, accused of illegally using its market dominance to smother Netscape’s competing Internet browser, wants to show that Netscape’s own blunders caused its browser to flounder while Microsoft’s grew in popularity.

The authors, David Yoffie of Harvard and Michael Cusumano of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are writing a book in which Netscape executives admit to mistakes during their rivalry with Microsoft.

Microsoft lawyer Steven Holley said Thursday that in interviews with the authors, ``various Netscape officers and employees frankly conceded that many of Netscape’s problems were of its own creation.″

The authors said previously they will fight Microsoft’s efforts for the material.

``People did not make those type of comments with us thinking that they would be played in court,″ Cusumano said earlier. Yoffie declined to comment Thursday, referring calls to a spokeswoman for his publisher, who couldn’t be reached immediately.

Microsoft learned of the upcoming book, ``Competing on Internet Time: Lessons from Netscape and the Battle with Microsoft,″ after Netscape turned over an advance copy as part of documents subpoenaed in the case.

Because Netscape included the book among documents that it considers ``confidential,″ excerpts cited by Microsoft were blocked out from public court filings even though the book already has been turned over to The Wall Street Journal for review.

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