A federal judge ordered Microsoft Corp. to search for evidence a vice president told employees in 2000 to destroy e-mails, an attorney for a company suing the software giant said Friday. Burst.com attorney Spencer Hosie said the order was important not only for his client, but for all cases against Microsoft. "It appears Microsoft as matter of institutional policy has decided to destroy e-mails in anticipation of litigation," Hosie said.
Burst, based in Santa Rosa, Calif., sued Microsoft in June 2002 alleging Microsoft developed its own multimedia software for moving audio and video more quickly over the Internet after discussing the technology for months with Burst. Burst is seeking unspecified damages, claiming theft and anticompetitive behavior by Microsoft, which allegedly shut out competitors through exclusive deals and other practices that took advantage of its dominant Windows operating system.
Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft says it did nothing wrong. Thursday's order by U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz in Baltimore directs Microsoft to search a legal department computer, a server, and backup tapes, as well as question Microsoft lawyers about the e-mail from James Allchin, Hosie said. The attorney said the Allchin e-mail warns employees not to save their e-mail for more than 30 days, telling them "Do not archive your e-mail." The e-mail was sent at a time when the company was "up to its neck in high-stakes litigation," Hosie said.
News source: eWeek