Microsoft's Days in Court
CALDERA -- Caldera Inc. of Provo, Utah, which owns the DR DOS operating system, sued Microsoft on July 24, 1996, charging that it illegally suppresses competition in the computer industry through unfair pricing and licensing agreements. Microsoft denies it. Status: Caldera's attorneys are deposing Microsoft executives -- including Chairman Bill Gates, who was interviewed for eight hours. SUN -- Sun Microsystems Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., sued Microsoft on Oct. 7, 1997, complaining that it had violated a 1996 agreement to license Sun's Java programming language. Sun said Microsoft left out some crucial pieces of Java software in the latest version of its Internet Explorer browser. That could harm the compatibility of programs written in Java -- its main selling point as an alternative to Microsoft's Windows operating system. Microsoft denied it violated the contract and countersued, charging Sun hadn't treated it the same as other licensees. Status: Motions are to be heard on Feb. 27. JUSTICE DEPT. -- U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno on Oct. 21, 1997, accused Microsoft of violating a 1995 consent degree by requiring PC makers to ship its Internet Explorer browser as a condition of licensing the Windows 95 operating system. Microsoft calls the combo of Windows 95 and Internet Explorer an integrated product -- something permitted by the consent degree. Status: A judge temporarily ordered Microsoft to decouple the two. Now a Jan. 13 court hearing has been set to determine if Microsoft complied inadequately and should be held in contempt of court. TEXAS -- State Attorney General Dan Morales on Nov. 7, 1997, charged that Microsoft interfered with the state's antitrust investigation by requiring PC companies to notify it of inquiries by third parties -- discouraging them from cooperating. Microsoft claims its nondisclosure agreements are standard for the industry. Status: A hearing looms in early February. Meanwhile, the AG's office says two dozen states may ultimately join in the antitrust investigation.
Updated Jan. 8, 1998 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1998, Bloomberg L.P.