Microsoft claims Mac Office success shows it does not rely on Windows’ dominance

Microsoft did not need to rely on its dominance of the operating system market to deliver successful applications, a company attorney said yesterday as he continued his opening statement to the Iowa court hearing a private class-action lawsuit against the company.

Microsoft claims Mac Office success shows it does not rely on Windows' dominance

David Tulchin told jurors that it was the company’s decision to ‘bet on the graphical user interface (GUI)’ when other software developers continued to develop character-based operating systems and applications, that has underpinned its success.

Indeed, it was Microsoft’s enthusiastic support of the GUI that led it to develop word processing, spreadsheet and other applications software for the Mac long before many other software developers, he said.

‘Those applications became hugely successful, despite the fact that Microsoft did not have the advantage plaintiffs allege Microsoft had in developing similar programs to run on its own Windows operating system,’ Microsoft said in a summary of Allchin’s statement. ‘In fact, Microsoft achieved a 90 per cent market share with its Mac Office suite, even though Apple had its own subsidiary, Claris, developing similar programs for the Mac.’

Microsoft’s enthusiasm, he said, was also felt by consumers, who lined up in droves to buy Windows 95 on its release.

Tulchin also examined several other allegations raised by the plaintiffs in their six-day opening statement. Addressing the question of applications prices, Tulchin said that prices went dramatically down as Microsoft’s market share increased – not up as plaintiffs allege. Turning to the issue of consumer choice: he cited the expert report of one the plaintiffs’ primary witnesses that acknowledges that Microsoft has always faced and continues to face competition in the operating system, word processing and spreadsheet markets, contrary to the plaintiffs’ claim that consumers have no choice in these markets.

He predicted the plaintiffs will not testify to suffering any harm from Microsoft in the case. Instead plaintiffs will rely upon paid expert witnesses and show the jury weeks and weeks of old video depositions.

‘After six days of plaintiffs’ opening statements about acts and conduct that for the most part took place more than 15 years ago, we are pleased that we can now focus on what the case is really about – price and value – did Iowans get their money’s worth from Microsoft products?’ Microsoft associate general counsel Rich Wallis said outside the courtroom. ‘We believe the evidence will show that Iowans benefited from Microsoft’s innovation and Bill Gates’ efforts to make a computer on every desktop and in every home a reality.’

The case continues.

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