MS/DOJ: Apple Exec Charges QuickTime Sabotage

An Apple Computer Inc. executive testifying today at the Microsoft Corp. antitrust trial refused to back away from his charge that the software giant sabotaged its multimedia player, QuickTime, so that it would not operate with its Windows operating system.

Avie Tevanian a senior vice president at Apple, alleged that Microsoft introduced a number of incompatibilities with its operating system running Internet Explorer 4.0 -- not present on an earlier version of the browser -- that caused QuickTime to fail.

Under rapid-fire questioning from Microsoft attorney Ted Edelman, Tevanian was repeatedly asked whether he had any personal knowledge that Microsoft had set out to intentionally hurt QuickTime.

"Don't you think that the use of the word sabotage is something of an exaggeration?" said Edelman.

Tevanian, paused, then said evenly: "It sounds fine to me."

"What other goal could there have been other than to disadvantage QuickTime," said Tevanian at one point.

Tevanian said he had written Gates to seek his help. Soon after, he said, Microsoft fixed a problem with one of the file formats, but other problems remained.

Microsoft said Tevanian's testimony helped their case.

"What you have seen this morning is that loose and groundless accusations may look good on paper, but don't stand up in court," said Mark Murray, a Microsoft spokesman.

David Boies, the lead government attorney said that given Tevanian's "experience as a software designer and experience in the industry it simply is not credible that all these things were happening and Microsoft wasn't aware."

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