Judge denies delay in Bristol-MS lawsuit

A federal judge has turned down a request by Microsoft to delay trial in an antitrust lawsuit filed against it by Bristol Technologies, saying the trial should go ahead June 2. Bristol filed the lawsuit against Microsoft last August in US District Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut, claiming Microsoft acted in an anticompetitive manner and harmed Bristol by cutting the company off from access to its Windows source code.

A federal judge has turned down a request by Microsoft to delay trial in an antitrust lawsuit filed against it by Bristol Technologies, saying the trial should go ahead June 2.

Bristol filed the lawsuit against Microsoft last August in US District Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut, claiming Microsoft acted in an anticompetitive manner and harmed Bristol by cutting the company off from access to its Windows source code.

Microsoft asked for a delay in the trial, but U.S. District Judge Janet Hall ruled against the company last week. She also ruled that Bristol can share information with lawyers for other litigants engaged in antitrust litigation against Microsoft. The software giant is in the midst of two other antitrust lawsuits filed against it by the U.S. Department of Justice and 19 states, and by Caldera Inc. of Orem, Utah. The judge said the sharing arrangement is subject to the approval of the judges in the other lawsuits.

Bristol sells cross-platform development products that enable Windows applications to run on other operating systems. Its key product, WIND/U, lets companies port applications from Windows to Unix.

In its lawsuit, Bristol contended that Microsoft used its monopoly power and withheld its source code to undermine the Unix market.

"We are happy we are moving forward," Jean Blackwell, Bristol's vice president of sales and marketing, said today in a telephone interview.

Microsoft contends Bristol, seeking a special arrangement with Microsoft, ended negotiations to renew its contract to use the code, according to Tom Pilla, a Microsoft spokesman. The case is essentially a contract dispute, he said.

"We think this case belongs in a conference room rather than in a courtroom," Pilla said. "Their motivation is to gain an unfair advantage in their market."

Bristol Technologies Inc., in Danbury, Connecticut, can be reached at 1+1-203-798-1007, or at http://www.bristol.com. In Redmond, Washington, Microsoft can be reached at +1-425-882-8080, or at http://www.microsoft.com.

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