YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Final Microsoft, Justice Witnesses Announced

Courts: Those testifying in special rebuttal session are expected to support arguments made earlier in antitrust trial.


WASHINGTON — Sticking mostly with trial-tested experts, Microsoft Corp. and the Justice Department on Monday announced their witnesses for the final phase of the landmark antitrust case.

During a special rebuttal session that is shaping up as a reprise of the trial's first four months, six final witnesses will take the stand. They include two economists who previously testified and two new faces--IBM executive Garry Norris and Gordon Eubanks, the former chief executive of Symantec, a leading PC software company.

Besides Norris, economist Franklin M. Fisher and Princeton University computer science professor Edward W. Felten will testify for the government.

Testifying for Microsoft will be Eubanks; Richard Schmalensee, dean of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management; and David Colburn, a senior vice president for business affairs at America Online who previously testified for the Justice Department.

"Each side is saying, 'We like the horse we rode in on, and we are going to stay the course,' " said Carey Heckman, director of Stanford University's Law and Technology Policy Center. The idea of a settlement doesn't look promising, so it appears each side is concentrating on creating a record for the likely appeal of the case, Heckman said.

In calling IBM's Norris to the stand, a source close to the Justice Department said, the government planned to concentrate on bolstering its argument that personal computer manufacturers have been harmed by Microsoft's alleged anti-competitive practices.

The federal government, 19 states and the District of Columbia alleged Microsoft has used its dominance of personal computer operating systems to thwart competition in the industry.

Norris is expected to testify about the lack of alternatives to Windows and to Microsoft Office products and the effect of that market power on the negotiations. Norris' testimony is critical because prosecutors haven't yet been able to put a computer company executive on the stand to show that the PC industry was harmed by Microsoft's alleged strong-arm tactics.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is expected to question Colburn on AOL's recent $10-billion purchase of Netscape Communications Corp., arguing that the acquisition demonstrates that competition is thriving in the computer industry.

Eubanks seems an unlikely friend to Microsoft, given that his former company, Symantec, has had to contend with Microsoft's habit of adding built-in features to Windows to handle many of the computing tasks that Symantec software performs.

But last year he told online publication ZDNet, "I think Microsoft has the right to extend the operating system and add new features. What's best in this business is that innovation pays off. I don't think litigation is the right way to react."

Eubanks recently resigned from Symantec and now heads an Internet start-up called Oblix.


Times staff writer Joseph Menn in San Francisco contributed to this story.

Los Angeles Times Articles