Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Microsoft Lawyer Faces Netscape CEO

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Microsoft Lawyer Faces Netscape CEO

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- A Microsoft lawyer lashed out Tuesday against Netscape, accusing Microsoft's bitter rival in the Internet browser wars of pursuing the same tactics that have made his client an antitrust defendant.

On the second day of the federal antitrust trial against Microsoft, defense counsel John Warden branded Netscape an opportunistic "ward" of the government that is seeking to regain lost market share for its browser through the landmark case.

"Netscape had what the government would consider a monopoly in the market for Internet browsers until the great Satan, Microsoft, came along," Warden argued. In a sonorous baritone, the portly Warden, a $600-an-hour Manhattan-based litigator, confronted Jim Barksdale, Netscape's president and chief executive officer and the government's opening witness, for having added e-mail services to its Navigator browser, Netscape's prime product. "You think of that as a perfectly correct thing to do?" Warden asked Barksdale. "Absolutely," Barksdale replied, with a native Mississippi lilt. "You believed that users would benefit?" Warden said, pressing further. "Did and do," Barksdale snapped. Barksdale had contended in his testimony that the technology giant sought "to eliminate Netscape as a competitor because of the threat the browser posed to Microsoft's Windows monopoly." In his lengthy cross-examination, Warden implied that Netscape's initial dominance in the browser world had put companies selling stand-alone e-mail programs out of business. His argument was intended to show that the practices labeled anti-competitive by the Justice Department were commonly used by software companies. Microsoft also trumpeted an undated Netscape document labeled "The Situation" that said in part: "Department of Justice and court actions create an opportunity for Netscape.... Client market share is a corporate goal. …

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