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The Independent Culture
THE ANTI-TRUST trial brought against Microsoft by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and 19 states entered its final stages in Washington last week. Both sides filed findings of facts, summaries of what they thought had been proved during the course of the trial. The findings of fact lay the groundwork for conclusions of law and, if Microsoft is found guilty, possible remedies.

Both sides reiterated their basic stances in the filings. Microsoft saying that it had acted legally at all times, including integrating its browser software into the Windows operating system. It said its actions had benefited consumers in a rapidly changing competitive environment. The DOJ said it had proved Microsoft had acted illegally, particularly in its attempts to destroy Netscape in order to maintain its monopoly position.

Microsoft and DOJ have a month to study each other's documents. Final courtroom arguments are scheduled to start 21 September with Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson announcing his verdict later this year or early in 2000.

AMD LAUNCHED its Pentium III-beating Athlon microprocessor last week, hoping to make inroads into the profitable high-end PC chip market dominated by Intel. In terms of raw clock speed, the chip, formerly known as K7, running at 650MHz already has the beating of Intel's 600MHz chip released the week before. But reports suggest that AMD is doing more than "setting the pace in the megahertz race", as its chief executive Jerry Sanders said.

According to tests carried out by PC World magazine, the 600MHz Athlon is on average nine per cent faster than a Pentium III running at the same speed. In graphics tests, the Athlon was 21 per cent faster running 3D modelling software. No Pentium upgrades are planned before November.

IBM and Compaq said that they would use the Athlon in their PC lines. Gateway, which uses low-end budget chips from AMD, will stay with PIIIs at the top of its range for the time being.

RED HAT SOFTWARE, the leading distributor of the free Linux operating system, bucked the downward trend of the IPO market when it floated last week and saw its shares increase by 286 per cent. The flotation raised $84m to give the company a value in excess of $3.8bn. Red Hat sells boxed copies of Linux and provides technical support for the system, which can be downloaded and installed for free. Its investors include Intel, IBM and Compaq. Compaq said it will be including the system on some of its consumer PC lines.

SHARES IN Sony rose 2.19 per cent in Tokyo last week after it said it was working with the chemical firm Nippon Zeon to develop plastic disks for computer hard drives. Using plastic instead of aluminium should reduce costs by 30 to 40 per cent, say some reports. Sony made no announcements about when commercial production would begin.

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