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October 21, 1998 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-21

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4ArrION !W ORLD The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 21, 1998-5
Microsoft claims it's an underdog


WASHINGTON (AP) - Technology giant
Microsoft Corp. portrayed itself at its antitrust trial
yesterday as an underdog racing to play catch-up
when it entered a then-new market for Internet soft-
Microsoft hit back at government claims that it
illegally used its influence as the maker of the dom-
inant Windows operating system - the central ner-
vous system crucial to most personal computers -
to try to dominate other markets, such as one for
Internet software.
The company's conduct against rivals was tough
but legal, Microsoft's lawyer, John Warden, said as
he outlined the defense case in his opening state-
ment in the landmark antitrust case.
"Antitrust laws are not a code of civility," Warden
The outcome of the trial - expected to last six
weeks - could determine much about the future of
the computer industry at a time when it is increas-
ingly important to virtually all aspects of modern
Microsoft's biggest rival for Internet software,
Netscape Communications Corp., enjoyed almost
90 percent of the market and earned $45 million
from the software in 1995.
The company was co-founded by Marc
Andreessen, who helped invent the software, called
graphical bers, which let people view information
on the Internet.
"Netscape had what the government would con-
sider a monopoly in the market for Internet
browsers until the great Satan, Microsoft, came
along," Warden said.
Microsoft argued that its immensely successful
business strategy was legal - to build browser

"Antitrust laws are not
a code of civility,"
-- John Warden
Microsoft lawyer
tedhnology directly into its Windows products, to
entice the nation's largest Internet companies to dis-
tribute its browser rather than Netscape's and to
prohibit computer makers from removing easy
access to its browser in Windows.
Since then, Netscape's market share has fallen to
roughly 50 percent but it is giving the browser soft-
ware to private consumers for free.
The government contends Microsoft's behavior
violated federal antitrust laws because Microsoft
wars motivated to bundle its browser within
Windows to hurt Netscape.
Microsoft, though, insists that its browser in
Windows was "not an add-on, like a flash on a cam-
era or a car radio, but like a shutter on a camera or
a ar's transmission."
And it argues that its decision to bundle the prod-
ucts was driven by consumer demand and technical
Warden, for example, said customers don't want
to assemble different software components - such
as a browser or backup tools - into a useful pack-
age themselves.
"They want their new machines to come out of
the box, consumers do, and just work," Warden
Yesterday, Microsoft also questioned the govern-
ment's first witness, James Barksdale, Netscape's

chief executive officer.
Asked whether he had lobbied the Justice
Department to pursue an antitrust case against
Microsoft, Barksdale said the Justice Department
approached him about its investigation in 1995.
In written testimony unsealed late Monday,
Barksdale wrote that Microsoft sought to "crush"
his company after he rejected an offer during a
controversial June 1995 meeting to illegally
divide the market for Internet software.
But Warden said Microsoft made no such ille-
gal proposal, saying Netscape either "concocted"
a story about an illegal offer or it was the result of
a "fantasy (that) arose from the naivet6 of Marc
Andreessen," whose notes from the meeting are
government evidence.
The government showed e-mail Monday from
Microsoft Chair Bill Gates, written days before
the 1995 meeting, saying: "I think there is a very
powerful deal of some kind we can do with
Warden criticized what he called the govern-
ment's "effort to demonize Bill Gates."
He defended Gates as "a man whose vision and
innovation have been at the core of the benefits" of
the computer age.
Gates' deposition also was the subject of a feder-
al appeals court hearing yesterday. Microsoft is try-
ing to block public access to videotapes of the gov-
ernment's questioning.
An obscure 1913 law requires that depositions in
federal antitrust cases be open to the public "as
freely as are trials in open court."
But a Microsoft lawyer called the 1913 law out-
The appeals court will rule later.

ai crosoft attorney Bill Neukom talks to reporters outside the federal court in
Washington yesterday, when he arrived for the Microsoft antitrust trial.

Ex-wrestler turns gubernatorial candidate

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP)-- As a pro-
fessional wrestler, he was known as
Jesse "The Body" Ventura, a loud-
mouth bad guy who strutted around
the ring with a feather boa.
Now, as a third-party candidate for
governor of Minnesota, Ventura is
putting a body slam on Democrat
Hubert Humphrey III, once considered
far-and-away front-runner.
A Star Tribune-KMSP-TV poll
released yesterday showed Ventura
with an astonishing 21 percent - well
back in third place but double his
standing shortly after the Sept. 15 pri-
More to the point, Humphrey has
dropped into a dead heat with Mayor
Norm Coleman (R-St. Paul) 35 per-
cent to 34 percent, well within the
poll's margin of error of 3.5 percent-
* points. Humphrey had been 20
points up on Coleman after the pri-
With the bluster of a man who has


pinned his share of opponents to the
canvas, Ventura said: "We're going to
win it in two weeks and they're not
going to know what hit 'em.'
The 47-year-old Ventura, an actor,
former suburban mayor and talk-radio
host, has yet to run a TV commercial,
but his anti-government, anti-tax mes-
sage as the candidate of the Reform
Party is having an effect. Over and
over he has won crowds with his
growling disdain of politics.
Ventura, whose wrestling heyday
was in the 1970s and '80s, showed up
at one forum in black jeans, a camou-
flage shirt and the Australian bush hat
with snakeskin band he wore in the
movie "Predator." Humphrey and
Coleman wore suits.
With his bald head and snarl,
Ventura is an irresistible alternative to
pinstriped politicians. When asked
how he would deal with stubborn leg-
islators, he flexed his substantial

Ventura's appeal is attitude, not
issues, said Steven Schier, a Carleton
College political science professor:
"The guy's got more testosterone than
his opponents combined."
"Jesse has entertained in the cam-
paign' Coleman said. "He has the
freedom to do and say and go unchal-
Schier described the voter mood as:
"Everything's going fine in this state
so let's have a party and invite Jesse."
Humphrey and Coleman are "perfect
straight men for Jesse's act" because
they are both serious politicians, he
Moreover, Humphrey's campaign
has been in "freeze the ball" mode
since the primary, and Coleman's cam-
paign has been without a theme, Schier
Humphrey was the early favorite
because of his famous name - he's
the son of the former vice president
- and because he oversaw

Minnesota's $6.1 billion settlement
of a lawsuit against the tobacco
industry earlier this year. Coleman is
a former Democrat and Humphrey
protege who switched to the GOP two
years ago.
Although Ventura stakes his claim
as an outsider, he was the mayor of the
Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Park,
a community of about 60,000, from
1991 to 1994. The city was run by a
city manager, but Ventura consistently
opposed tax increases and took credit
for a drop in crime.
Rivals complain that he is all style
and no substance. Ventura has not
released a detailed tax plan other than
to say he would veto increases and
return surpluses. He tapped a school-
teacher to be his lieutenant governor
running mate, admitting he knows lit-
tle about eduoation.
Humphrey's cawip predicted the ex-
wrestler's support will fade as the Nov.
3 election approacihes.

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