The two sides in the Microsoft antitrust case made their closing arguments yesterday, after Judge Kollar-Kotelly ordered them both to list their remedy priorities.
Microsoft attorneys rejected a request to provide a list of “least onerous” remedies that “remain effective as a remedy.”
The judge asked Microsoft to look at the settlement’s exceptions and limitations, and identify those that can be reasonably modified. Microsoft refused. “We believe that these criticisms are groundless,” Microsoft attorney John Warden said.
Warden said that the states’ remedy proposal “is fundamentally flawed in numerous respects,” and said they can’t fix it “by changing a few words here and there.”
Priorities The states’ team listed priorities in the following order: disclosure of code to ensure interoperability; the provision that PC manufacturers have flexibility in system-configuration with no comeback from Microsoft; adherence to industry standards, such as Java; offering a stripped down version of Windows without associated products; the distribution of Java with Windows; and the porting of Microsoft Office to other platforms.
The judge is expected to reach her decision during the summer. She may use these priority lists to craft her own remedy. She acknowledged criticism that the settlement agreed by the Bush administration has too many exceptions.
In courtroom arguments, Steven Kuney, attorney for the nine dissident states, told the judge that last June’s Court of Appeals decision, which upheld a lower court finding that Microsoft had illegally maintained its monopoly in operating systems, provided “absolutely crystal-clear direction” on the need for tougher remedies than those reached.
Kuney told the court that it has to consider new markets, and that the remedy “has to protect other nascent platform threats.”
States’ attorney Brendan Sullivan accused Microsoft of offering a “doomsday defence,” in threatening to pull Windows from the market and stop all research and development if the non-settling states’ remedies were adopted.
“I don’t think Microsoft will rename its campus Sleepy Hollow,” said Kuney at one point, accusing the company of acting “thuggish-like.”
‘Theft’ Warden countered that Microsoft has gone to lengths to comply with the Court of Appeals’ decision. “The remedy reconstructs Microsoft’s business; it’s a form of industrial engineering,” said Warden, who called the states’ plan punitive – claiming that it amounted to illegal confiscation of Microsoft’s property.
Warden also argued that the states failed to show that Microsoft’s acts had hurt Java and Netscape.