The seemingly never-ending Microsoft antitrust case is set to enter a new phase this week with the company arguing in court why it cannot ship a stripped-down version of the Windows operating system.
Both chairman Bill Gates and chief executive Steve Ballmer are on the witness list to appear in court, but there is no word from the company as to whether they will.
Microsoft will call around 30 people from the IT industry to defend the company against ongoing calls for checks on Microsoft's dominant market position.
For the last month nine US states have been arguing before Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly that the agreed settlement between Microsoft and the US Department of Justice (DoJ) does not go far enough in punishing the company.
The renegade states, which include New York and California, have produced witness after witness to try and persuade the judge to impose a tougher "remedy".
The states want Microsoft to be prevented from entering new markets, and they want it to sell PC makers a version of Windows that is stripped of software such as Internet Explorer and Media Player. They also want the judge to force Microsoft to release the Windows source code to developers.
The settlement between the DoJ, nine other states and Microsoft was much more lenient and led to protests from the high-tech industry as well as the holdout states.
Observers of the trial have so far been unable to glean from Judge Kollar-Kotelly's comments as to which way she is leaning. She has yet to rule on whether the DoJ settlement was in fact in the public interest.
Starting this week, Microsoft will try and persuade the judge that there will be serious negative effects on the US economy as a whole if she sides with the states and keeps Microsoft out of emerging markets such as handhelds and set-top boxes.
As for selling a stripped down version of Windows, Microsoft says that plan will force the company to test 1,024 different versions of Windows. Rather than do that, it says it will pull out of the Windows market altogether.
Microsoft promised to provide "a detailed causal analysis" and described the states' proposed solution "extreme". It will argue that the sanctions proposed would harm the computer industry.
There are nearly 30 witnesses on Microsoft's list, so testimony is expected to go through to May.
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