MS/DOJ: Rebuttal witnesses announced

Microsoft has named three witnesses who will testify in the rebuttal phase of the government's antitrust case against the company. They are David Colburn, senior vice president for business affairs at America Online; Gordon Eubanks, CEO of Oblix ; and Richard Schmalensee, dean of the Sloan School of Management at MIT. Microsoft plans to question Colburn, who testified for the government in October, as a hostile witness.

Microsoft has released the names of three witnesses who will testify in the rebuttal phase of the government's antitrust case against the company.

The witnesses are David Colburn, senior vice president for business affairs at America Online (AOL); Gordon Eubanks, president and chief executive officer of Oblix ; and Richard Schmalensee, dean of the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The US Department of Justice's witnesses are Edward Felten, assistant professor of computer science at Princeton University; Franklin Fisher, an economics professor MIT, and Garry Norris, former director of software strategy and strategic relations for IBM Corp.'s PC unit.

The DOJ and 19 state attorneys general have sued Microsoft on antitrust charges.

Microsoft plans to question Colburn, who testified for the government in October, as a hostile witness, Microsoft said in a release. Company lawyers will ask how the merger of AOL and Netscape Communications affects the case. Microsoft has said the merger undercuts the government's position.

Microsoft lawyers also want to question Colburn on the "completeness and candor of prior testimony," the release said.

Eubanks, former chief executive of Symantec, will testify on competition in the software industry, and Schmalensee will testify on economic issues related to the case, Microsoft said.

The trial has been in recess since the end of February and is expected to resume May 17. However, the date could be pushed back depending on when another case being heard by District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ends.

Norris will be the first representative of a PC manufacturing company to testify in support of the DOJ's claims that Microsoft's behavior hurt the PC industry. Felten and Fisher, however, already testified on behalf of the government.

Felten described how he wrote a program to remove, or hide, the Internet Explorer browser from Windows 98. The testimony disputed Microsoft's contention that the browser is so deeply embedded into the operating system that it cannot be removed without damaging functionality. Fisher testified that company used predatory pricing and other anticompetitive practices to crush competition.

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