Microsoft says foes dont have to retract evidence

Brussels, Belgium | Updated: Nov 29 2004, 05:30am hrs
Microsoft will not demand the withdrawal of evidence submitted against it in a European antitrust case by two parties that have since dropped their support for the case, a spokesman said Wednesday.

The two parties are a rival software maker, Novell, and the Computer and Communications Industry Trade Association, which has fought Microsoft for more than a decade. Questions about the admissibility of arguments and evidence submitted by them to the European Court of First Instance were raised Monday when Judge Bo Vesterdorf summoned all those involved for a meeting Thursday.

The association and Novell supported an antitrust ruling against Microsoft in March by the European Commission, and last month they supported the commissions ruling at an appeals panel. But on Nov. 8, both reached settlements with Microsoft and withdrew from the case.

The Microsoft spokesman, Tom Brookes, said Wednesday that his company did not intend to ask President Vesterdorf to remove or exclude previous statements submitted to the court by Novell or the CCIA.

And Ed Black, the president of the trade association, said, There is no question of us withdrawing evidence already submitted. Part of the settlement included a commitment by Microsoft to join the association and for Black to remain at its helm.

Details about the settlements with Microsoft are scarce. Novell received $536 million; the payment to the association was not disclosed. The association also agreed to withdraw a separate complaint against Microsoft that could have led to a larger antitrust case against the company.