Microsoft: Witness admits ties

Kevin Murphy, a University of Chicago economics and industrial relations professor, returned to the witness stand yesterday for...

Kevin Murphy, a University of Chicago economics and industrial relations professor, returned to the witness stand yesterday for his second day of testimony in the remedy phase of the Microsoft antitrust trial, where he faced tough questioning about his company's links with Microsoft.

Murphy's written statement had argued that antitrust remedies should be limited to the company's misdeeds and its illegal maintenance of its operating system monopoly - a monopoly reaffirmed by the US Court of Appeals last June. There is no economic justification for the broader remedies sought by the nine nonsettling states and the District of Columbia, Murphy said.

However, states' attorney Steven Kuney established in his questioning that Murphy had written little, if anything, about the software industry until his company, Chicago Partners, was hired by Microsoft four or five years ago.

Kuney read off a series of papers Murphy wrote about the software market since that relationship with Microsoft began and, in each case, the witness acknowledged that the papers were at least partly funded by Microsoft.

Much of Murphy's testimony was intended to support the assertion that there is no "causal link" between the precipitous market share decline of Netscape's Navigator browser and Microsoft's illegal monopoly.

But Kuney pulled out evidence, originally introduced at the trial, showing that Microsoft viewed Navigator as a platform threat to its Windows operating system.

Murphy said that at the time of those assessments by Microsoft, its chairman, Bill Gates, had said that there's "a lot of money at stake" and that he was "going to get excited" about things that have a chance.

Murphy argued that looking back at events from today's perspective presents "a very different picture".

The next witness for Microsoft is expected to be Scott Borduin, a vice-president and chief technology officer of Autodesk, which makes PC design software and multimedia tools.

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