Microsoft hits back at Burst.com allegations

Microsoft says allegations that stolen technology was used in Media Player 9 are 'groundless'

Microsoft has denied it used stolen intellectual property to build Media Player 9 and has called Burst.com's account of last week's trial on the matter "inaccurate" and "groundless".

Microsoft was ordered by a US judge last week to produce thousands of emails as part of an investigation into whether the software giant stole intellectual property from Burst.com and used it in Media Player 9.

Jim Desler, PR manager at Microsoft Corporate Communications told ZDNet UK: "Microsoft vehemently denies Burst's allegations and contends that the technology that is part of our Media Player 9 was developed by Microsoft engineers."

Desler expressed surprise at Burst’s account of the court hearing: "Their fundamental premise -- that there were missing emails from a specific period of time -- is simply wrong." Instead, he said, the companies "discussed a routine discovery issue arising from the fact that not every email sent or received gets saved".

According to Desler, the judge "simply directed us to do a more thorough search of our backup files to search for any emails that, as a matter of business routine, were not saved elsewhere."

In addition, Desler said that Microsoft is an intellectual property company that respects the intellectual property rights of others. "We dedicate tremendous time and resources to technology innovation and development."

"Like many large companies, from time to time we are the target of groundless claims and/or litigation," he added.

Microsoft was responding to comments from Richard Lang, chief executive of Burst.com, who told ZDNet UK that two years after becoming a Microsoft partner, the software giant tried to buy the company's technology for $1m (£640,000). Around a year after the offer was turned down, Lang said Microsoft announced a "third generation video streaming technology", which appeared to be based on Burst.com's technology.

"In early 2002, Bill Gates made the official introduction -- they called the product Windows Media Player 9 -- which in our view incorporated our patents without a licence," Lang said.

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