Under cross-examination by the Microsoft legal team on Tuesday, Apple?s Avadis Tevanian stuck to his accusations.
After a day?s interruption for the national elections, the antitrust trial got underway again with the cross-examination of the Apple senior vice president. His main allegations are that Microsoft tried to impose its IE browser on Apple, and that it tried to force the company out of the multimedia player market (see Newswire 2 November).
Cross-examining a live, hostile witness went slightly better for Microsoft than hearing his pre-recorded testimony on Monday.
On Monday, the government had - to great effect - played extracts from Bill Gates? videotaped testimony and contrasted them with email messages. On video, Bill Gates repeatedly denied any direct involvement in, or detailed knowledge of Microsoft?s negotiations with either Netscape or Apple - statements at odds with email fragments from Gates, containing details about the talks.
Microsoft attorney Theodore Edelman, taking over for lead attorney John Warden, chipped away at Tevanian?s written testimony. But while Tevanian was forced to admit some mainly technical errors in this, he stuck to the key accusations.
He had claimed that Microsoft tried to sabotage the Apple Quicktime player product on Windows. When asked whether ?sabotage? wasn?t too harsh a word for the error messages sometimes generated by Quicktime on Windows, Tevanian responded: ?It sounds fine to me?.
But he admitted under questioning that he had no proof to back up his accusation that Microsoft intentionally included error messages in Windows so as to damage Quicktime. ?I don?t know if it was on purpose or for some other reason," he admitted.
Microsoft contends that the problems that occur when running Quicktime on Windows are caused by programming errors from Apple. Microsoft had used this same defence against earlier accusations that its Microsoft Media Player software ?breaks? Real Networks? competing Real Player.
Edelman also criticised Tevanian?s repeated uses of the word ?monopoly? to describe Microsoft?s market position. Whether or not Microsoft?s dominance of the desktop operating system market should be characterised as a monopoly is an issue at the heart of the antitrust trial.
Tevanian was forced to concede that he is no specialist in antitrust law, and thus was not using the word ?monopoly? with the precise meaning it has in antitrust. But this point did not really get Edelman anywhere.
The lawyer also attacked Tevanian?s version of the negotiations that preceded the 5 August 1997 agreement between Microsoft and Apple. Under this, MS committed to the continued development of Office for Macintosh and invested $150 million in Apple, which in turn adopted IE as the default browser for the Mac and dropped a number of patent claims.
In Tevanian?s account, Microsoft bullied Apple into the agreement with its threat to discontinue Apple for the Mac. Gates, in his video testimony, denied any knowledge of such a threat.
Edelman cast Apple in the role of the bully, claiming Apple threatened Microsoft with a $1.2 billion damages claim for patent infringement. Tevanian responded that the $1.2 billion was Apple?s estimate of the total worth of its patents, not the amount it was claiming as damages.
Edelman?s cross-examination of Tevanian will continue today.
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