Nokia and SBC to testify against Microsoft

Executives from two major telecommunication companies will be called to the stand by the District of Columbia and nine states in...

Executives from two major telecommunication companies will be called to the stand by the District of Columbia and nine states in the continuing antitrust case against Microsoft.

Representatives from SBC Communications and Nokia have been added to a list of preliminary witnesses set to testify against Microsoft. The list of companies already includes Oracle and Sun Microsystems, said Bob Brammer, a spokesman for Iowa State Attorney General Tom Miller, a leading Microsoft opponent.

Nokia's vice president of government and industry affairs, William Plummer, is now scheduled to testify, as is SBC's Larry Pearson, a product design manager.

Those on the witness list also include Peter Ashkin, president of product strategy at AOL, Richard Green, vice president and general manager of Sun's Java group, Jim Barksdale, former head of Netscape and Matthew Szulik, chief executive officer at Red Hat.

US District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who is heading up the remedy phase of the case, has scheduled hearings to decide what remedy to impose on the software maker. The judge could force the nine states and the District of Columbia to sign a settlement deal forged between Microsoft, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and nine state attorneys general, or create a separate remedy based on testimony gathered from public comments and these hearings.

The nine hold-out states - California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Florida, Kansas, Minnesota, West Virginia, and Utah, as well as the District of Columbia - are set to head back to the courtroom in March.

Last week, the suing states filed a proposed remedy with the court, which included restrictions against the software maker that go far beyond what Microsoft agreed to in the federal settlement proposal.

The states have asked the judge to force Microsoft to make its Windows operating system code available to third-party software makers, make its Internet Explorer Web browser an open source software product, and "auction off" its Office software to third party software makers to be developed for competing platforms such as Linux.

The measures would also require Microsoft to ship a version of its Windows operating system stripped of any applications or code tied to those applications, such as its media player and instant messaging software.

Microsoft has previously called the state's remedy proposal "unworkable and punitive" and submitted its own proposal, which closely mirrored the settlement agreement with the DOJ and nine states. In that agreement Microsoft would have to loosen up its licensing deals with PC makers and agree not to retaliate against any of those manufacturers if they ship Windows PCs with rival software.

The states also said that they have the opportunity to amend and add to the witness list until February 8, when a final version must be filed with the court.

No one from Microsoft was available for comment.

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