The US government's antitrust case will turn next to Apple Computer's QuickTime multimedia player -- once James Barksdale's cross-examination ends.
Barksdale, the president and CEO of Netscape Communications., spent nearly three hours on the witness stand today and is due back for more cross-examination tomorrow.
Avie Tevanian, vice president of programming at Apple Computer who is also in charge of developing Apple's QuickTime software, will be the government's second witness, said David Boies, the US Justice Department's lead attorney.
The government contends that Microsoft pressured Apple to stop marketing QuickTime for Windows, which competes with Microsoft's NetShow product.
In today's court session, John L. Warden, Microsoft's lead attorney, spent a major portion of the afternoon grilling Barksdale about his contact with the Justice Department.
Warden, who in earlier hearings has repeatedly described Netscape as the government's "ward," seemed set on drawing a strong link between the company and the Justice Department.
Microsoft entered into evidence a Netscape memorandum, that wasn't released yesterday, listing meetings with government officials, and Barksdale testified about his own meeting, including a breakfast meeting at his home with Assistant Attorney General Joel Klein.
Warden asked Barksdale why he didn't file his own lawsuit against Microsoft. Because "our taxes pay their salaries," replied Barksdale, who also said a lawsuit would be "too expensive."
After today's hearing, a Microsoft official trumpeted Barksdale's testimony as evidence "that Netscape had a consistent policy of attempting to use the government as part of its overall competitive process against Microsoft for over three years," said Mark Murray, Microsoft spokesman. "This raises serious questions about the motivation of the government's lawsuit," he said.
But Boies at the Justice Department said Barksdale was "a very compelling witness -- I think he laid (down) in very easily understood terms in great authority what the issues are in this case, the anticompetitive conduct of Microsoft and what the effect has been on that company."
(Patrick Thibodeau is a senior writer for Computerworld)