Microsoft Trial Update: Microsoft Trial May Drag On To Christmas



WASHINGTON, D.C.---The Microsoft trial will drag on longer than previously expected, perhaps until Christmas, the lead government attorney said Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson had said he wanted the trial over in six to eight weeks.

"It's going to be longer than six to eight weeks. I sure hope it's done by Christmas, otherwise I'll have a very unhappy family," said Justice attorney David Boies. Two witnesses, Netscape CEO James Barksdale and America Online vice president David Colburn, have completed testimony in the first two weeks of the trial.

The Justice Department and 20 states charge Microsoft maintained its monopoly in the computer operating system market illegally and used that dominance to control the browser market against Netscape. Microsoft said it has simply competed aggressively.

Questioning by Microsoft attorney John Warden has moved slowly, said a senior Justice attorney, who did not wish to be named.

"Every question by John Warden has been on point, taking this step by step, brick by brick to refute the government claims," said Charles "Rick" Rule, an attorney with Covington & Burling and a consultant to Microsoft.

Judge Jackson does not hold court on Fridays. A much-awaited tape condensed from Microsoft CEO Bill Gates' deposition by government attorneys was not shown as anticipated Thursday. Boies is not sure when the court will see it. On Monday, Avie Tevanian, senior vice president of software engineering at Apple, will take the stand.

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