Microsoft accused of dumping key e-mail

Nov. 17, 2004 at 11:48 AM

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 17 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Baltimore has order the head of Microsoft to testify under oath in a patent theft and monopolization lawsuit.

Burst.com of California is suing Microsoft for allegedly trying to patent its digital-media technology and make it incompatible with the software maker's Windows operating system, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Documents unsealed this week reveal U.S. District Judge Frederick Motz has ordered Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Jim Allchin, its top Windows executive, to be questioned under oath in the case.

Besides the main contentions of the lawsuit, plaintiff lawyers allege Microsoft misled Justice Department lawyers in 2002 to conceal the e-mail-destruction practice, and in several instances didn't save e-mails from executives who were crucial to U.S. inquiries and private suits.

"As we've said from the start of the case, Burst's claims are without merit, and the technology at issue is based on Microsoft's own work and innovation," a Microsoft spokeswoman, Stacy Drake, said Tuesday, adding Burst "is using the issue of e-mail to obscure the real points of this case."

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