Microsoft and America Online (AOL) traded insults in court yesterday, accusing each other of trying to monopolise the internet.
Presenting to US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, Microsoft's defence attorney Richard Pepperman rebuffed claims that the software giant's .Net technology would allow it to dominate the web.
The case is being brought by nine US states which rejected November's antitrust agreement between Microsoft and the US government. They say that the ruling will not protect smaller players from being crushed by Microsoft's 'anti-competitive' behaviour.
Pepperman produced an internal report from AOL dated 23 May last year, which he claimed offered evidence of AOL seeking to use its senior partner, media giant Time Warner, to dominate the web.
According to the attorney, part of the report said: "[Microsoft] has nothing to match Time Warner's assets and AOL must take advantage of this every way it can."
The issue hinges on Microsoft's Passport, which allows surfers to access secure sites without having to re-enter personal details. The technology rivals systems such as AOL's Magic Carpet.
AOL executive John Borthwick, the eleventh witness to be called to the stand by the nine prosecuting states, conceded that .Net was a "relatively open platform" at present, but feared that it would "get more closed" over time.
Microsoft claims that AOL scuppered talks over the interoperability of Passport and Magic Carpet.
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