Microsoft and the nine dissident states fighting for stronger penalties against the software giant delivered their closing recommendations to resolve the case to the court yesterday.
Both sides offered conflicting views, both on what remedies should be applied, and on what laws such remedies should be based. Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s final decision in the remedy portion of the trial, known as findings of fact and conclusions of law, is expected some time in the next few months.
Such filings are required in antitrust cases in part so that an appeals court can later use the documents to determine whether the judge overseeing the case interpreted the law correctly, and had the evidence to enforce it.
The recommendations are contained in a private court-document.
‘Unworkable’ Microsoft argues that: “the non-settling states’ remedy is unworkable; would cause great harm to the PC ecosystem; would hurt consumers; and is hopelessly vague and ambiguous,” according to a statement from Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler. He claimed in the statement that the proposed settlement with the Department of Justice and the nine states “is a tough but fair and appropriate resolution of this case.”
Microsoft claims that “a number of flaws” exist in the case mounted by the non-settling states. All the provisions sought by the states are seeking to “go beyond the 12 acts found to be anticompetitive by the US Court of Appeals,” Microsoft wrote.
The company also charged that the witnesses and expert testimony offered by the suing states was weak.
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who is leading the dissident states’ campaign, issued a statement following the release of their report, characterizing the states’ case as a strong one. “The filing gives the Court a powerful foundation for ordering the injunctive relief necessary to repair the systematic harm that Microsoft has inflicted upon consumers and competition in the computer software industry,” he said.
The suing states want the judge to force Microsoft to offer a stripped-down version of its Windows operating system. This, they argue, will allow hardware makers to ship computers with products such as media players or instant messaging applications from competing vendors. They also want Microsoft to make its Office desktop software run on competing operating systems, and make the underlying code of the Internet Explorer Web browser freely available to developers.
Closing arguments from Microsoft and the states are scheduled to begin on June 19.