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Microsoft courts success and woe

As the state of New Mexico settled its antitrust suit against Microsoft, the US Justice Department asked an appeals court to end the current phase of the Microsoft antitrust case and send it back to a lower court.

New Mexico attorney general Patricia Madrid said: ‘It is time to settle this case and move forward.’

As part of its settlement, New Mexico will be compensated for its legal and related fees and receive the same eventual remedy as other states imposed against Microsoft.

Microsoft issued a brief statement that said it was pleased with the settlement and ‘committed to working with the federal government and the remaining attorneys general to resolve the remaining issues in the case’.

Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Attorney General, said New Mexico was a valued part of the team, ‘but we won’t be reduced in resources or resolve’.

He said the remaining parties are open to settlement talks with Microsoft although there have been no formal approaches on either side.

There were originally 20 states that filed the lawsuit with the Justice Department in May 1998, but South Carolina dropped out early in the process.

Meanwhile, court papers filed by the Justice Department and the 18 states suing Microsoft, said the court has already devoted unusually extensive resources to the antitrust matter.

The request asks for ‘immediate issuance of mandate in light of the exceptional importance of this case and the strong public interest in prompt entry of a decree providing an effective remedy for Microsoft’s illegal conduct’.

‘Delay in imposing an effective remedy inflicts substantial and widespread consumer injury and needlessly prolongs uncertainty in the computer industry,’ the document stated.

The request, to move the case back to the trial court, would mean the Government could go forward with the case immediately rather than waiting until mid-August.

The Government would have had to wait 52 days from the Court of Appeals 28 June decision before the case would return to the US District Court. Microsoft has ten days to file a response.

Two weeks ago a federal appeals court ruled that Microsoft had operated as an illegal monopoly and harmed consumers.

The court reversed the trial judge’s order to break up the software giant and sent the case back to a different lower court judge to decide a new remedy.

Links

Microsoft break-up order overturned

  • This article first appeared on vnunet.com

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