Microsoft continued its head-on attack during day four of its antitrust trial, accusing Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen of ?inventing or concocting? an illegal market dividing proposal.
The company continued to chip away at the testimony of Netscape chief Jim Barksdale.
Microsoft attorney John Warden, in his third day of cross examining the CEO, continued his point by point scrutiny of Barksdale?s written account of events. Barksdale contends that Microsoft turned against Netscape after making an illegal market dividing proposal in a meeting on 21 June 1995.
Netscape maintains that it always intended to charge money for its browser, but that it was forced in early 1998 to give it away after Microsoft did the same with Internet Explorer. Warden is attempting to establish that Netscape considered making its browser free long before that, and that giving away the browser has not hurt the company.
On Wednesday, Warden quoted from an email message sent by Netscape co-founder Jim Clark to Microsoft executives. The message claimed Netscape was not interested in making money off the client, and invited Microsoft to invest in the company.
On Thursday, Microsoft followed up with a newsgroup posting from Andreessen. ?We are absolutely committed to giving [Navigator] 1.0 away for personal use," it stated.
Barksdale responded that Andreessen was not speaking on behalf of the company.
Next, Warden took on Barksdale?s account of the 21 June meeting. Warden presented notes made by Barksdale himself at an earlier meeting, on 2 June 1995. The notes suggests that the meeting was ?very friendly, non threatening?.
On Wednesday, Warden had forced Barksdale to concede that Microsoft did not literally propose that Microsoft and Intel should divide up the browser market. Barksdale maintained, however, that Microsoft?s Dan Rosen ?intimated it in every way possible?.
On Thursday, the attorney introduced a chronology of interactions between Microsoft and Netscape, written by Gary Reback, a lawyer who has worked for Netscape. The document makes no mention of the illegal offer supposedly made on 21 June.
"The only fair conclusion is that Marc Andreessen invented or concocted a proposal to divide the market," said Warden.
?That?s absurd,? retorted Barksdale.
After a break on Friday, Barksdale?s testimony is expected to continue on Monday ? with no end in site.
After Barksdale, Avie Tevanian, senior vice president of Apple, is expected to take the stand. With 22 more witnesses to follow after that, it appears unlikely that the Court will manage to conclude the trial in the five to eight weeks it originally anticipated.
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