DOJ seeks questioning of MS' Allchin

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has asked the federal judge in the Microsoft antitrust trial for permission to question a Microsoft executive about the company's testing of software that removes the functionality of Internet Explorer 4.0 from Windows 98. Edward Felten, a computer scientist from Princeton University, told the court last week that Microsoft could easily remove Web-browsing capabilities from Windows 98 and give users the ability to choose their browser. Microsoft filed a brief with the court two days later arguing that Felten made false accusations in his testimony and disregarded facts. But a DOJ brief counters that the Microsoft brief misstated the trial record and mischaracterised Felten's testimony, and it asks that it be disregarded.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has asked the federal judge in the Microsoft antitrust trial for permission to question a Microsoft executive about the company's testing of software that removes the functionality of Internet Explorer 4.0 from Windows 98.

In testimony last week Edward Felten, a computer scientist from Princeton University, told the court that Microsoft could easily remove Web-browsing capabilities from Windows 98 and give users the ability to choose which browser they want to use. Despite Microsoft assertions that Windows 98 is an integrated browser and operating system, Felten said he and two of his graduate students had designed a prototype software program that shuts down the operating system's tie-in with the browser.

Microsoft filed a brief with the court two days later arguing that Felten made false accusations in his testimony and disregarded facts. But today's DOJ brief counters that the Microsoft brief misstated the trial record and mischaracterised Felten's testimony, and it asks that it be disregarded.

In addition, the DOJ asks for permission to question James Allchin, senior vice president of personal and business systems at Microsoft, who is scheduled to be called as a Microsoft witness to discuss the company's testing of Felten's software.

The DOJ has not had the opportunity to properly question Allchin about the testing of the software because he refused to answer questions about it in a deposition Sept. 29, claiming that he didn't have the "facts" with him that day and that testing was not complete, the DOJ said.

The questioning of Felten by Microsoft attorneys last week raised the ire of US District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who accused the attorney of "playing word games" in his cross-examination of Felten.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, can be reached at +1-425-882-8080 or on the Web at http://www.microsoft.com/.

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