A federal judge has ordered Microsoft to recover any deleted e-mails that may support charges from a streaming media company that the software giant stole its video-delivery technology, according to a recent hearing transcript. U.S. District Judge Frederick Motz, of the Northern Division of Maryland, said in an Aug. 28 hearing that Microsoft must find back-up tapes and servers containing communications of six key executives in its Windows Media Strategy division. The order came out of concern from Santa Rosa, Calif.-based Burst.com that there were gaps in internal communications from a Microsoft unit that could produce evidence for its case.
"We list 70 e-mails that went back and forth between the parties that Burst had that Microsoft did not produce. These were e-mails that absolutely undeniably existed once, but for some reason are no longer at Microsoft System," Spencer Hosie, attorney for Burst, said during the hearing.
Burst filed a complaint against the Redmond, Wash., giant in June 2002, claiming that after lengthy discussions about licensing its technology to the company, Microsoft lost interest and simply duplicated the patented software within its own video encoding and decoding product, Windows Media 9 Series. The suit echoes earlier charges from Netscape Communications, Sun Microsystems and others that Microsoft bullied companies out of using Burst products. Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler said that the company has been forthcoming in providing evidence to date, already having produced more than 300,000 documents from more than 60 employee files. "We have cooperated and will continue to cooperate with the court and the parties and the discovery process in this case."
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