Testimony Finishes in Microsoft Case

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Eight months and counting. Testimony concluded Thursday in the Microsoft antitrust case but don't hold your breath yet for a decision. Even though there won't be any more dramatic cross-examinations of digital chieftains or courtroom exposes of doctored videotape evidence, Microsoft lawyers and government prosecutors will make more arguments to Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson over the coming months.

Without a jury in the trial, it is up to Judge Jackson to determine whether Microsoft has operated as a monopoly and, if so, what to do about it. The first decision is expected to come in the fall. If Jackson's courtroom questions -- and impatient grimaces -- are any guide, it is also expected to come against Microsoft. It was Jackson last fall who allowed trustbusters to expand the scope of the case beyond Netscape and the browser wars to look at Microsoft's muscle throughout the computer industry. Even on the last day of testimony the government introduced an internal memo from Bill Gates saying in late 1998 -- three weeks after the announcement of Netscape's merger with America Online -- that "AOL doesn't have it in their genes to attack us in the platform space." Microsoft has focused most of its trial arguments in recent months on the competitive threat posed by AOL, pointing to it as an example of competitiveness in the fast-changing computer industry. MORE >>