Microsoft Files Defense in Real Networks Case

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-02-20 Print this article Print

In another anti-trust lawsuit against it, Microsoft files its formal denial to allegations that it has prevented competition in the market for digital media.

Microsoft Corp. on Friday filed its formal response to RealNetworks Inc.s anti-trust lawsuit against it, denying allegations that it is impeding competition in the digital media market. In the "Answers and Defenses" filing in federal court in San Jose, Calif., Microsoft defended its business practices, asserting that competition is vigorous between Microsoft and RealNetworks. RealNetworks alleges in the lawsuit it filed in December that Microsoft illegally used its monopoly power to restrict competition and consumer choice in the digital-media space by forcing its Windows Media player on Windows users. Part of Real Networks case is based on business conduct similar to what U.S. courts have declared illegal in other Microsoft antitrust cases, such as failure to disclose interface information and placing restrictions on PC manufacturers.
Microsoft responded to RealNetworks accusations in the filing, a required step in the court process. Microsoft asserted, among other things, that it provides extensive information to software developers like Real Networks about the Windows operating system and that it provides methods for OEMs and end users to configure their systems so that only other media players such as RealNetworks are visible.
"The digital media marketplace is characterized by intense competition and a continual stream of new technology and innovations and companies entering the market each week," Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake said in a statement. "This is a case where a leading firm is seeking to use antitrust laws to protect and increase it market share and to limit the competition it must face." RealNetworks officials said the company remains confident in its legal action and is prepared for a case that could take three years to reach a trial. "Its to be expected that Microsoft would deny our claims," said RealNetworks spokesman Greg Chiemingo. "As we stated when we filed our suit, we have a strong suit and plan to vigorously pursue it to trial." To read more about RealNetworks business direction from an interview with CEO Rob Glaser, click here. Microsofts filing on Friday follows a motion from Jan. 9 in which it is seeking to have the case transferred from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Both companies have headquarters in Washington—Microsoft in Redmond and Real Networks in Seattle. A hearing on the motion for a venue transfer is scheduled for March 1. Check out eWEEK.coms Windows Center at for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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