In yesterday's antitrust hearings, an economist testified that the nine nonsettling states and the District of Columbia's proposal to force Microsoft to reveal Internet Explorer (IE) and MSN Explorer source code would help competitors, not consumers. Economist Carl Shapiro described the plan as an "inappropriate taking of Microsoft's intellectual property" that would most clearly help Internet-access market leader AOL Time Warner.
Shapiro also said that the proposal would create incompatibilities that would ultimately harm consumers and pointed to the mess that followed Netscape's release of the Communicator source code as an example. AOL's 1999 purchase of Netscape and the decision to abandon the Netscape 4.X code base and start from scratch disrupted the open-source project. The Mozilla.org team has finally scheduled Mozilla 1.0's release for this month, but it took the team more than 4 years to bring the project to fruition.
After Shapiro finishes his testimony, Microsoft will call the first of as many as 30 witnesses, AMD Chairman Jerry Sanders. Microsoft expects Sanders to testify that Windows is a stable platform now and should be kept that way, not broken into a "modular" release as the nonsettling states and the District of Columbia have requested.