MS/DOJ: Intuit testimony draws early rebuke from Microsoft

Microsoft had its response to the latest testimony in its antitrust case out before the testimony itself yesterday. The US Department of Justice is expected to release the written deposition of Intuit chief William Harris today, but newspaper reports citing sources close to Intuit - and describing Microsoft's attempts to cut 'exclusive and discriminatory deals' by relying on its monopoly power in the operating system market - have already appeared.

Deposition testimony from Intuit chief William Harris is expected to be released today by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in its antitrust case against Microsoft, but amid published reports regarding the testimony, the software maker yesterday issued a pre-emptive statement.

Although the written statement from Microsoft makes it seem as though Harris' testimony was widely available yesterday, the deposition has not yet been posted on the DOJ Internet site. The DOJ has been releasing deposition testimony on its Internet site before the statements are entered into evidence at the ongoing federal antitrust trial, which resumes on Monday.

The DOJ and 19 states allege that Microsoft has illegally used its control of the operating system market to dominate other markets, including Internet browsers.

The Seattle Times on Sunday published a detailed story regarding Harris' testimony, citing sources close to Intuit, maker of the popular Quicken financial software. Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman and chief executive officer, in 1994 made repeated attempts to buy Intuit, approaching company officials after a consent decree between Microsoft and the DOJ left him feeling he could act boldly to make acquisitions, the newspaper reported.

Harris' deposition will offer an unflattering portrayal of Microsoft and its attempts to cut "exclusive and discriminatory deals" by relying on its monopoly power in the operating system market, according to the Seattle Times. Harris also will suggest that the federal court quash Microsoft's ability to bully other companies through "operating system neutrality," which would forbid the software giant from using its operating-system dominance to make exclusive deals with third-party vendors.

"Mr. Harris' testimony is rife with rank speculations, hypothetical situations and attempts at complex legal, technical and economic analysis by a witness who is neither an attorney, a software developer, nor an economist," the Microsoft statement said of the deposition, which is nearly 50 pages long.

"Only 16 pages address relevant interactions with Microsoft; the rest is speculation or half-baked analyses," the statement continued. "Mr. Harris' testimony further demonstrates that the government's case is without merit, and has degenerated to a state where any competitor with a business grudge can come to Washington and use the DOJ as a weapon."

The DOJ, in Washington, D.C., can be reached at Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, can be reached at Intuit, in Mountain View, California, can be reached at +1-650-944-6000 or at

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