Microsoft was back in court last week to defend anti-trust allegations made by the US government's Department of Justice (DoJ) following a 13-week break.
The trial has entered the crucial rebuttal phase, where each side will forward three witnesses apiece to clinch - or lose - the arguments.
Microsoft's top defence lawyer Michael Lacovara grilled the government's top economics witness. MIT economist Franklin Fisher was quizzed about former Netscape chief Jim Barksdale's claim that Microsoft had blocked Netscape's important distribution channels for the Navigator Web browser by bundling its own Internet Explorer with the Windows operating system.
Fisher was forced to admit that Barksdale had 'exaggerated' Netscape's difficulties in distributing Navigator through OEM and ISP channels when Lacovara produced figures from Goldman Sachs showing that Navigator was being distributed by 22 per cent of PC makers and 24 per cent of ISPs.
But Fisher hit back, claiming AOL's $4.2 billion acquisition of Netscape last November was 'if anything, cheap' and proof that Netscape's market share had plunged since Microsoft entered the market.
Microsoft then pointed to the Linux operating system to prove that it did not operate a monopoly in the OS market, claiming the free OS is outselling Windows in some retail markets.
But Fisher appeared unconvinced by the argument. 'The last time I looked, Linux was no more than about five per cent. It's going to have to get up, I would say, to well over 20 per cent and be seriously growing,' he said.
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