MS Colburn Notes : LUSENET : MS-DOJ : One Thread

NOTE: The website does not currently link to Colburn's cross-examination, so I've attempted to reconstruct Microsoft's argument from examining the exhibits that it introduced during the cross-examination


1. Colburn summarized the history of the competition between MSN and AOL -- including AOL's allegation that the links to MSN on the Windows desktop gave Microsoft an unfair advantage over AOL.

2. Colburn alleged that AOL would not have negotiated a browser license with Microsoft if Microsoft had not indicated a willingness to include AOL on the Windows desktop. (Paragraph 25)

3. Colburn alleged that on October 28, 1996, AOL and Microsoft entered a deal in which Microsoft agreed to pay AOL $.25 per AOL member that AOL converted to IE from another browser. Microsoft also allegedly agreed to pay AOL $600,000 if AOL converted a substantial portion of its installed base by a specified date (paragraph 38).

4. Colburn alleged that at the time that AOL first entered into an agreement with MS, IE and Navigator were "comparable" (paragraph 33).

5. Colburn listed a number of factors that he believed would lead AOL to renew its "exclusive" contract with AOL (paragraph 47). Some of these factors might be interpreted as resulting from anticompetitive behavior.


1. Microsoft has introduced evidence which suggests that it's browser was and is better suited for AOL's needs than Navigator.

Defendant's Exhibit 1730

This exhibit is a chart in which AOL compared the expected short-term and long-term benefits of Navigator to IE. In several important categories, IE outperformed Navigator.

Defendant's Exhibit 1730

This is an internal AOL e-mail in which Bob (Hawkins?) favorably compares IE to Navigator. Bob says that he entered a meeting with MS biased towards Navigator, but left "squarely in Microsoft's camp." Bob argues that MS has a stronger commitment to 16-bit technology and a smaller memory footprint.

In addition, Colburn admits that AOL needed a componentized broswer -- a feature which at the time only IE could offer (paragraph 34). Netscape has yet to offer a componentized browser.

2. Microsoft introduced evidence suggesting that Netscape is difficult to work with (giving an alternate reason for AOL to prefer Netscape).

Exhibit 1545

This is a draft of an e-mail from Steve Case to Barksdale in which Case tells Barksdale that he is tired of Netscape's bad attitude.

3. Microsoft is arguing that exclusionary agreements, such as the ones between AOL and Microsoft, are common business practices.

Exhibit 530 This an agreement between AOL and Netscapse that AOL will not advertise for IE in conjunction with AIM.

4. Although Colburn claims that the chance to get AOL on the Windows desktop was the reason that AOL began negotiations with Netscape, he later appears to contradict this assertion by claiming that AOL wanted to support both browsers (paragraph 28), suggesting that AOL would have attempted to negotiate a license agreement anyway.

-- Anonymous, November 08, 1998

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