Microsoft Says AOL Fails to Provide Legal Documents


Microsoft has accused rival AOL Time Warner of holding back documents detailing how it has helped the nine U.S. states pressing for tougher antitrust penalties against the software giant.

The filing with U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly is the latest in a flurry of legal jabs between the two corporate foes.

Filed late Wednesday, the motion came one day after AOL launched a private lawsuit alleging Microsoft's unfair business practices harmed its Netscape Web browser subsidiary. Microsoft says its motion is unrelated to that new lawsuit.

In the filing, Microsoft says AOL has failed to abide by subpoenas that require it to reveal contacts with the nine states demanding tougher measures against Microsoft.

"AOL can't have it both ways," says Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler. "Their uncooperative attitude on document production stands in stark contrast to their active, behind-the-scenes involvement with the non-settling states."

An AOL spokesman had no immediate comment on Microsoft's motion but says the company would respond in a filing of its own later Thursday.

AOL had produced only 851 pages of documents, while two other companies involved in the litigations, SBC Communications and Novell, had produced 27 boxes and seven boxes, respectively, Microsoft says.

Microsoft asked the court to force AOL to hand over more documents as well as shorten the time for AOL to respond to the filing, and bar any AOL witnesses from giving trial testimony.

Microsoft itself has recently come under fire for similar reasons from the American Antitrust Institute, a private group supporting harsher sanctions against the company. The AAI says Microsoft has failed to disclose all communications it had with the federal government and nine states in crafting an antitrust settlement.

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