SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Three million pages of Microsoft documents, once part of a suit against the software maker, are being shredded and are destined to become toilet paper.
The 937 boxes of court-ordered documents had been safeguarded by Redman Records of Salt Lake City since the mid-1990s as part of Caldera International's unfair-competition lawsuit against Microsoft.
That suit was settled in January 2000, and Caldera -- now The SCO Group -- was paying up to $1,500 a month to store the documents. In October, the company persuaded U.S. District Judge Dee Benson to order their destruction.
However, just as the shredding was to begin, Sun Microsystem's attorneys halted it with a subpoena. The company, seeking evidence that might help in its own antitrust suit against Microsoft, eventually pulled out 40 boxes of the computer giant's secret internal communications for digital imaging.
Paul Grewal, Sun's Cupertino, Calif.-based attorney, said the task was being wrapped up this week.
"We began (scanning) a couple of months ago, and most of the work is now done. We expect to wrap it up shortly," he said Tuesday.
Meantime, the shredding and pulping of the remaining records has been under way for about two weeks. The destruction of Sun's 40 remaining boxes, many of which have already been returned, will complete the shredding project contracted to Recall Secure Destruction Service.
"I have written confirmation that several hundred boxes have already been turned into paper mulch," said J. Harrison Colter, an attorney for the Canopy Group, which is now representing SCO/Caldera in the documents matter.
Dale Rice, a San Francisco attorney representing Microsoft, said she understood all the documents -- including the ones taken by Sun -- should be shredded within a matter of days.
Shredding of the Microsoft archives was a major undertaking for Recall Secure Destruction Service's Salt Lake City plant, facility manager Cathy Keetch said. Once the final, box of files is processed, her staff will have destroyed 37,480 pounds of records, packing the shreds into 1,400-pound bales.
"We broker the bales out to the highest bidder, and they are shipped to a pulp mill. There, they dump them into vats that remove the ink and break it down into a mix material," she said. "Ninety-nine percent of our shreddings are made into toilet paper."
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)