MS/DoJ: witness says IE is separate product

A US Government witness due to take the stand today in the antitrust trial against Microsoft argues in a written deposition release that most people view Internet Explorer and Windows as two separate products.

Glenn Weadock, a software consultant and president of Independent Software in Colorado, also states that bundling Internet Explorer with Windows does more harm than good for end users.

Weadock is due to take the stand as the government's fifth witness. His deposition was released today by the US Department of Justice (DoJ), which is suing Microsoft along with 20 US states for alleged anticompetitive behaviour.

The question of whether or not Internet Explorer and Windows constitute separate products is a central issue in the lawsuit. The government claims Microsoft illegally "tied" the software products together so that it could use the popularity of its Windows operating system to help boost sales of its browser.

Microsoft, which denies the government's charges, claims the products are so closely interwoven that they are effectively one product.

In his deposition, Weadock says it is difficult to define software products based on the way files are grouped together. Rather, he argues, most people define products based on the functions they perform.

"Organisations continue to view Internet Explorer and Windows as distinct products -- one an application, the other an operating system," Weadock wrote.

Microsoft chose to design its operating system in such a way that makes it hard for end users to remove Internet Explorer from the program if they don't want to use it, Weadock also wrote.

"Microsoft . . . has chosen to design Internet Explorer so that some of the code that it uses co-resides in the same library files as other code needed for Windows 98 or even Windows 95 to run," Weadock wrote. That makes it difficult to remove Explorer without risking damage to the operating system as a whole, he wrote.

Weadock's full deposition can be viewed on the DoJ's Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f2000/2056.htm.

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James Niccolai

PC World
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