Multimedia Document Retrieval

NPR's All Things Considered
Broadcast 22/02/2000, Story 11

The two sides in the government's antitrust case against software giant microsoft returned to a washington courtroom today last november district judge thomas penfield jackson ruled that microsoft is a monopoly whose actions have harmed consumers now the question before the court is whether microsoft is actually violated anti trust laws n. p. r.'s larry abramson is at the courthouse and larry the government's legal dispute with microsoft has been going on for more than a year now what stage are we at a second trial

Well the stage is called the conclusions of law robert and as you mentioned the um government has already won one round around one which was the uh within that judge said that is the finding of fact microsoft is a monopoly that its actions harm consumers

But those things are not mean that it necessarily broke the law so what both sides had to do today was look at those of findings of fact

Use them to their own advantage and for the government and then referring to judge constantly

Judith findings of fact saying that they showed microsoft broke the law microsoft and the other hand is a trick your job they have to accept the findings of fact the current appeal them right now and state despite all of these bad things that you found against this your honor he didn't break the law we might have been aggressive in mean but we didn't break the law

We'll tell us tell each side went about trying to prove that it's a case study with the government but the government insists that out and that's uh

That made sense because they have the momentum after the november ruling and they really try to put the burden on microsoft to almost prove that they're not guilty um david boys the government attorneys been a lot of time saying this is not a novel application of the law justices computer software is the standard anti trust case law and he went down to a whole bunch of cases in which he said that microsoft's actions he viewed in the context of these other presidents were simply anti competitive

And he said that microsoft a lot of things that had no business justification there are simply there in order to extend its monopoly in windows operating system and increases power it could never had to expect

It can make up all the money that was going to lose by giving away from browsers and he said the anti trust laws forbid that kind of you know essentially dumping

And how did microsoft counter to that

Well microsoft and put the emphasis where where the government put the emphasis on incorporated and the microscope was trying to monopolize the browser market arkansas said don't worry about intense your honor we should be focusing on

The fact that don't worry about all of that this is the real one language you know this uh cutting off netscape's air supply of these famous quote that we heard during testimony in the trial he should be talking with focusing on the fact that the marketplace is still vibrant consumers still have a lot of choices and they can still get netscape navigator and i think when it out that netscape navigator the competitor the microsoft allegedly tried to crash

Now i know has twice as many users as it did in nineteen ninety six when this whole business got started yet that ah bundy and i'm really should focus on whether consumers have benefited from all my confidence appears that the markets attorney said there's no question there are more consumers union and its banks microsoft innovations and that is the bottom line

It's also interesting robert both sides kept pulling out all kinds of vacations from the judge's findings of fact the frequently used the exact same citations to prove completely opposite points and the markhasev actually did some very uh clever editing i think in areas that were largely negative and they pulled out of half sentences that were uh somehow seemed positive to them and i don't think the judge like pepper

But and there's no jury hearing this this is simply a trial heard by judge jackson allegedly question the lawyers are did he indicate what he's interested in in hearing more about that he did ask questions

It's pretty active today on he seemed to be asking the government attorney david boyd for a way out of a restriction on him uh in appeals court has already ruled it's o. k. for microsoft to include a browser with the operating system that is not clear whether this judge is bound by that decision is almost asking voice for a way out of that

At the same time he had the judge seemed incredulous that some of microsoft's a rationale for concluding that accrue to chronic states that together and he were interrupted by defense attorneys several times asking them to know how they could possibly think that copyright law to other things that they were bringing up in intend to uh explain why they were a wielding these two products together and saying that these are essentially a new product that benefited consumers thank you larry

Thank you robert n. p. r.'s larry abramson reporting from the federal district court in washington

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