Microsoft at War With Intel Veep

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WASHINGTON: As early as 1995, Intel vice president Steven McGeady said that "war between Intel and Microsoft" was "inevitable." McGeady has his war now - and he's the main target. Battle was joined in the federal courthouse Thursday as Microsoft's lawyers tried to portray the chip maker's VP and government witness as a belligerent, disgruntled employee who made major mistakes with Intel's ill-fated software projects. Redmond attorney Steven Holley even went so far as to accuse McGeady of appropriating his memory of a shouting match between Bill Gates and Andy Grove from the Tim Jackson book "Inside Intel." "You borrowed that story for your testimony, didn't you?" said Holley, doing his best Perry Mason. McGeady denied the charge.

A worse sin, in Microsoft's eyes, is that McGeady referred to the software giant as "the devil" in personal notes. As anyone in the industry knows, that's an epithet commonly used in reference to Microsoft, and the company's lawyers have had some grief over it before, when they tried to persuade Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson to dismiss the court's "special master," Professor Lawrence Lessig, for using it in an e-mail. Jackson wasn't too impressed then; he's unlikely to care now. Meanwhile, debate in Silicon Valley has moved on to possible punishments. Oracle chair Larry Ellison felt comfortable suggesting that "the government should break Microsoft into two companies." Even if Redmond wins the courtroom battle, it may have already lost the PR war.