Microsoft trial: knee-jerk reaction of the defense

A video presented as a proof of the indispensability of the Internet Explorer proved the exact opposite.

The antitrust trial against Microsoft, which had been dragging along after the prosecution’s witnesses were fired, came to a crashing halt at Tuesday’s hearing.

James Allchin, a Microsoft employee nominated by the defense as a technical expert, came under considerable prere in his attempt to rebut a key prosecution argument. The video demonstration was about nothing less than the eternal question of whether or not Internet Explorer is an essential part of the operating system. Allchin tried to rebut the arguments raised by the so-called Felten program, which has not been demonstrated for a long time and is supposed to uninstall Explorer without any negative impact on the operating system. A screenshot video, which was supposed to demonstrate the problems of an explorerless Windows98 operating system in a test attempt, revealed that one of the deplorably slow computers did contain Internet Explorer. Neither the witness himself, who did not want to exclude the possibility that the test machines were old or overloaded with programs, nor the delegation present at the trial could sufficiently explain this.

"We now know", said the prosecution’s top sharpshooter, David Boies, who for the time being did not want to imply any intention of open fraud, "that this videotape brought in by Microsoft as evidence is not reliable." Microsoft’s attorney general William Neukomm found words for the knee-jerk action like "innocent" and "Error" and announced an investigation. The trial continues today, Thursday.

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