The states suing Microsoft may not be able to use evidence that they say shows that Microsoft is forcing PC vendors into unfair Windows-licensing terms.

District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly yesterday addressed the issue of whether the states could introduce as evidence 14 documents regarding Microsoft’s dealings with PC vendors. The states had intended to use these documents during their cross-examination of Richard Fade, senior vice president of Microsoft’s OEM (original equipment manufacturer) division. However, Microsoft cut Fade from the line-up on Monday.

Nine states and the District of Columbia are pursuing litigation against Microsoft, following last year’s Appeals Court ruling that Microsoft violated antitrust law.

During this hearing, Kollar-Kotelly is listening to remedy proposals from the litigating states and from Microsoft, which has offered the terms of its settlement with the DOJ and settling states as remedies in the case.

Evidence in dispute State lawyers hoped to show that Microsoft is using the terms of the settlement to strong-arm PC vendors into tougher licensing-agreements for Windows.

Microsoft attorneys objected to the states’ attempt to enter these documents as evidence without a related witness.

“This in not their case, this is ours,” Microsoft trial attorney John Warden told the judge.

A lawyer for the states, Howard Gutman, maintained that of the 14 documents, eight were on the original evidence list, and Microsoft had not objected to them. Among those eight documents were letters from PC makers HP and Compaq, Gutman said.