A judge has ruled that Oracle must surrender some internal documents to Microsoft, which hopes that its rival's business dealings will provide fodder in its defense of antitrust charges levied by the US Department of Justice.
Lawyers for Oracle had argued that Microsoft's request for documents was a tactic to muddle and delay its antitrust trial, set to begin Oct. 15.
Microsoft subpoenaed the documents -- along with documents from Sun, IBM, Apple, and Netscape -- earlier this month, saying the Justice Department had unfairly expanded its case in the 11th hour by adding several charges to its original lawsuit involving those companies.
Justice Department officials are particularly interested in a 1995 meeting between officials from Microsoft and Netscape; the government charges that Microsoft sought to divide up Internet business with the Mountain View, California, company.
However, Microsoft -- which disputes that characterisation of the meeting with Netscape -- insists that the competitors' documents will prove that its own business practices are not predatory and unfair, but typical in the industry.
Oracle must turn over the documents -- Microsoft had sought more than Jackson ordered turned over -- by Oct. 9. Jackson also ruled that Oracle must make a representative available for a deposition sometime between Oct. 9 and Oct. 14.
"We are looking forward to getting the information that the court ordered Oracle to turn over," said Tom Pilla, a Microsoft spokesman. "We are looking forward to defending ourselves on Oct. 15."
Oracle representatives were not immediately available.