NEW YORK (CNNfn) - In what has become a signature tactic for the prosecution, government lawyers Monday used a Microsoft Corp. executive's own documents to refute his testimony that the company did not perceive a competitive threat to its monopoly power from Netscape Communications Corp.
In his first day on the stand at the company's federal antitrust trial in Washington, Daniel Rosen, Microsoft (MSFT) general manager of new technology, became the latest defense witness to offer potentially damaging testimony under government cross examination.
In his written direct testimony, Rosen denied the company attempted to bully Netscape (NSCP) into ceding the lucrative Web browser market in exchange for developing products for computer network servers.
Government lawyers have pointed to a June 21, 1995, meeting, in which Microsoft attempted to coerce Netscape to stop competing with Microsoft, as an extreme example of how the Redmond, Wash.-based company uses its Windows monopoly to crush its competitors.
Rosen, however, testified that any suggestion that Netscape would give away its browser for free in exchange for gaining revenue from server products came from Netscape Chief Executive James Barksdale, not Microsoft.
Lead Justice Department attorney David Boies repeatedly asked Rosen if he believed Netscape was a Microsoft competitor. Rosen answered no each time.
Boies, however, produced an internal e-mail message Rosen sent to Microsoft executives in which he stated Microsoft had to wrest control away from Netscape.
Rosen admitted he had composed the message but denied sending it.
Recess is imminent
The trial could recess this week, pending the completion of testimony from Microsoft's 12 witnesses. Rosen was Microsoft's ninth witness to take the stand.
Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson issued an order declaring the two sides could begin calling their allotted two or three rebuttal witnesses on April 14. Microsoft and the government must present their rebuttal witness lists by March 31.
Attorneys expect the next phase of the trial to last several weeks. Both sides will then present closing arguments.
The trial will go into hiatus because Jackson and Boies have other cases to attend.
Microsoft shares fell 1-11/16 to 146-1/16 in midday trade.