Microsoft Corporation has released the written testimony of its next witness in the antitrust case, that of John Rose, an executive at Compaq Computer. Ironically, Compaq was one of the companies that alerted the U.S. Department of Justice to alleged abuses by Microsoft, but Rose's testimony reveals a belief that the integration of Internet Explorer with Windows actually benefits customers.

"There are times when we have a different view on how best to serve our mutual customers," Rose says. "Compaq has not agreed with every position asserted by Microsoft, nor has Microsoft always agreed with our views. Our two companies, however, have generally agreed on solutions that have benefited customers and accommodated both our interests and needs, and the computer industry as a whole."

Rose also explains that Compaq ships a variety of operating systems with its machines, including various flavors of UNIX and Windows. He says that Windows 98 is the most popular choice because that is what users are asking for.

"In our view, Windows 98 has features and functions that our customers want and need. Windows 98 provides them with the desired out-of-the-box experience," he says. "Features of Windows 98 which improve on prior Windows products include easier navigation, faster speeds, support for new hardware devices, 'instant on' capability and greater integration of Internet-related technologies, including web browsing. In short, we believe that customers purchasing new personal computers today want their machines to come with Windows 98 preinstalled on its hard drive."

Perhaps most interestingly, Rose challenges reports that Microsoft threatened to revoke Compaq's Windows license last year because the hardware maker wanted to bundle Netscape Navigator as well. Rather, Compaq violated its Windows license agreement by removing the MSN and Internet Explorer icons from the Windows desktop. When Compaq found that it was in violation, it restored the icons as requested.

"Microsoft did not object to Compaq's inclusion of the Netscape Navigator icon on the \[Windows\] desktop," he says.

Rose is expected to take the stand following the cross-examination of Microsoft executive Brad Chase, who returned to the court Tuesday (Court was not in session Monday because of the President's Day holiday). The day was spent arguing over the relative merits of downloading Netscape with AOL over a modem line