Less than three weeks before its antitrust trial in Washington, Microsoft Corp. is scrambling to uncover evidence that it believes could help defend itself against the government.

As part of its pretrial preparations, Microsoft has subpoenaed professors from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, demanding that they turn over taped interviews with executives from rival Netscape Communications Corp. It also has requested documents involving Utah-based Novell.So far, David Yoffie of Harvard and Michael Cusumano of MIT refuse to hand over recorded interviews and documents in which Netscape executives admit mistakes in their efforts to compete against Microsoft.

Microsoft is eager to find evidence that may show Netscape's own business blunders - not its allegedly illegal conduct - caused Netscape's Internet browser software to flounder while Microsoft's grew in popularity.

The professors gathered their information researching a book, "Competing on Internet Time: Lessons from Netscape and its Battle with Microsoft." It is scheduled to appear in stores just days after the start of Microsoft's Oct. 15 trial.

The subpoenas came just weeks after broad demands by Microsoft for information from some of the nation's largest high-tech companies.