A US District Court in Connecticut has set a June 1 court date for Bristol Technology and Microsoft to hear Bristol's claims that Microsoft has anticompetitively manipulated access to the programming interfaces of its Windows operating system.
Bristol, a small company that provides cross-platform development tools enabling Windows applications to run on other operating systems, this August filed a lawsuit against Microsoft in US District Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut, alleging that Microsoft was not providing Bristol with the complete source code for Windows.
Judge Janet Hall denied Bristol's request for a preliminary injunction against Microsoft, but also denied both Microsoft's motion to dismiss the complaint and its request for summary judgment, according to a statements issued by the two companies.
Bristol makes cross-platform development tools that let Windows applications run on other operating systems. Its flagship product, Wind/U, was designed to let companies port applications from Windows to Unix, and Bristol had been privy to Windows source code it needed to make Wind/U.
However, Microsoft decided to stop providing Bristol with the complete source code and thus illegally used its OS monopoly power to undermine the competing Unix market, Bristol has alleged. Microsoft has maintained that the matter is a contractual -- rather than an antitrust -- dispute.
Microsoft yesterday issued a statement saying it was pleased by Hall's denial of the request for a preliminary injunction.
In its own statement about the ruling, Bristol said the judge's memorandum of decision foreshadows victory for Bristol.
"The judge recognised that Bristol has made an important contribution to the viability of Unix as a competitor to Windows NT," said Patrick Lynch, partner at O'Melveny & Myers and lead counsel for Bristol, in the statement. "We believe a jury will agree that Microsoft has abused its monopoly power."
Microsoft -- which has been fighting a much larger antitrust battle in a case lodged by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and 19 states -- said that Bristol has waged the suit as a tactic for a better licensing contract.
"This litigation was an effort by a company to use a lawsuit and a long-planned public relations campaign to try to gain better terms in its contract negotiations with Microsoft," said Steve Aeschbacher, senior corporate attorney for Microsoft, in the Microsoft statement.
While Microsoft argued in the district court that Bristol is not a competitor to Microsoft, Bristol's statement included several quotations from Judge Hall's decision including: "Based on the evidence before it at this time, the court finds that Bristol has clearly shown that it is indeed a competitor of Microsoft -- Bristol has thus shown a substantial likelihood that it will be able to prove antitrust injury at trial .... Moreover, there is ample evidence that Microsoft intended to harm Bristol with respect to limiting the effectiveness of its Wind/U product."
Bristol is based in Danbury, Conn., and can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.bristol.com. Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, can be reached at +1-425-882-8080 or at http://www.microsoft.com/.