Microsoft's historic antitrust trial, which was originally scheduled to resume May 10th, is going to be delayed at least a week so that Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) can meet to discuss a possible settlement. Judge Thomas Jackson was set to hear rebuttal witnesses this week, but he has been detained by another trial. One of the more pressing issues that is likely to come up, should a settlement not be reached, is the recent purchase of Netscape Communications by America Online (AOL). Netscape officials figured prominently in the attack on Microsoft, and Microsoft will depose at least four AOL/Netscape executives this week to ask them about the timing of the merger. Included in that list is AOL CEO Steve Case.
The stakes, obviously, are high: Microsoft argues that the AOL/Netscape merger shows that competition is alive and well in the computer industry and that the software giant faces constant competition in an ever-changing industry. The DOJ, of course, has argued that Netscape's fall at the hands of Microsoft is just another company lost to anti-competitive practices