Top Justice Department and International Business Machines Corp. attorneys met here two weeks ago to discuss the government's major antitrust case against the computer giant, government officials have confirmed.
But settlement of the now eight-year-old case - nearly two years into trial - is not "in the wind," according to Donald I. Baker. Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust.
Besides Baker, attending the January 10, hour-plus meeting in his office were Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, IBM vice president and general conusel: Lloyd Culter, of the Washington law firm of Wilmer Culter & Pickering, which represents IBM: William E. Swope, who, as the Antitrust Division's director of operations, heads the office which is responsible for supervising litigation; and Raymond M. Carlson, the division's chief trial attorney on the case.
Katzebach had asked for teh meeting to tell teh division officials "their view of the case," Baker said. As a public official with responsibilities for spending federal resources, he said, he believes "an open door" policy is the proper one,
"I simply listened to them." Baker said, adding "there are definitely no settlement dealings going on at the moment."
The general thrust of the IBM position is said to have been that the industry has changed since the suit was filed eight years ago and that the case is now "obsolete."
Theg government is seeking in the massive case to show that IBM's competitiors cannot penetrate the generalpurpose computer market to any great extend because of IBM's alleged monopoly position and power.
The government contends that IBM achieved its position through a varicty of marketing practices which - though not perhaps illegal and individually - together constitute and intend to monoplose the market and keeps its actual competitors small and potential competitors out.
IBM's position is that its power ts power and success derive from superior products and excellent servicing, and that it really competes with hundreds of companies which market vaious commupter products, even if they do not manufacturer whole "systems" which is the market the government contends is relevant.
The giant says the practices the government alleges constitute anti-competitive behavior are really sound business practices designed to get and keep customers.