30 April 2002 Software giant Microsoft has cut eight of its remaining 17 witnesses scheduled to testify in the antitrust case, a move that should help bring it to an early conclusion. However, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is still expected to take the stand.
Microsoft cited the progress it had made and the shortcomings in the case of the nine rebel US states behind its decision to reduce its witness list.
Microsoft’s confidence has grown since its chairman Bill Gates gave an impressive three day display in court last week. Gates claimed that the amount of software code the litigating states were demanding Microsoft should disclose would “turn the clock back on Windows development by about 10 years”.
The reduction of Microsoft’s initial line-up of 28 witnesses by eight, should see the cross-examination of all of its witnesses concluded by 10 May 2002. In addition to Ballmer, Jim Allchin, vice president of the Windows division, will also testify.
Meanwhile, Microsoft suffered a minor setback when a Microsoft witness and executive from telecoms provider Qwest Communications, slipped up in court yesterday. Gregg Sutherland refuted the prosecution’s argument that Microsoft could use its Windows dominance to prevent application vendors profiting from the convergence between the computing and telecoms industries.
However, under questioning from an attorney for the nine US states, Sutherland admitted he only had limited knowledge about Microsoft’s telecoms plans, such as its unified messaging service.