Government To Show More Gates Video
Dec. 15, 1998
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The government plans to show hours more videotape of its lawyers questioning Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and others before a lengthy holiday break for its antitrust case against the company.
Microsoft ended its cross-examination Monday of the government's final witness for the year, Princeton computer scientist Edward Felten.
The next witness, Intuit Inc. Chairman William Harris, won't take the stand until after the trial resumes Jan. 4. The judge plans to recess the case no later than Thursday.
Justice Department lawyer David Boies said the government will play two days of videotape testimony from Gates and others. They are not appearing as witnesses, but under court rules the government can use their videotaped statements as evidence.
Felten testified Monday that there is no justification for the way Microsoft bundled its Internet software within its dominant Windows operating system.
Felten said the company deliberately blended different computer functions into some of the same Windows files. That essentially makes it impossible to delete all traces of the company's Internet software without affecting the underlying operating system.
But Felten, who studied the closely guarded technical blueprints for Windows in a court-ordered examination, showed a 30-minute video describing how he was able to modify some files to prevent Microsoft's Internet software from starting up.
``I know of no reason Microsoft was technologically compelled to design things that way,'' Felten said. ``These files are packages of stuff, and some of the stuff relates to Web browsing and some of it doesn't.''
Felten's testimony is important because the government is trying to prove Microsoft illegally tied its Internet software to Windows, in part to protect its monopoly among computer operating systems and also to crush rival Netscape Communications Corp., which makes a popular competing Internet browser.
But Microsoft attorney Dave Heiner complained that Felten's method slowed some Windows functions as much as sevenfold. Microsoft also said the procedure, which deleted some Internet files, made it impossible to test a prerelease copy of its latest Internet software, which was made public earlier this month.
Felten said he hadn't noticed any performance problems. He said his procedure worked with all Microsoft's other updates until he handed over a copy of his removal program to the company.
Microsoft spokesman Tod Nielsen said outside the courthouse that the problem was coincidental and easily solved: Felten's program deletes an important directory and confuses Microsoft's update software. It said a consumer could manually recreate the directory, a relatively easy process.
Felten called the way Microsoft implanted its browser ``a question of packaging'' rather than a design decision. He said there was no distinction between removing the browser's functions under Windows and actually deleting all the browser's components.
Microsoft contends that distinction is important because it suggests its browser isn't identifiable as a stand-alone piece of software. Antitrust law prohibits companies that have monopolies from tying separate products. Microsoft contends it does not have a monopoly.