Microsoft Highlights Settlement Burdens
Microsoft tried to show the U.S. District Court today that the a proposed settlement of its anti-trust case is vague and that it would impose an overly heavy compliance burden.WASHINGTON Microsoft Corp. spent the better part of its court time Wednesday quizzing an expert witness on the definitions of terms in the antitrust remedy proposed by nine states and the District of Columbia. The Redmond, Wash., software maker tried to show the U.S. District Court here that the states remedy is vague and that it would impose an overly heavy compliance burden. The states had called Andrew Appel, a computer sciences professor at Princeton University, to the witness stand to support the feasibility and effectiveness of their proposal, which spells out more stringent requirements on Microsoft than a settlement that the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to in November. The states proposal would require Microsoft to create modular versions of its operating systems allowing the removal of middleware products; give third-party hardware and software makers who license Microsoft software flexibility in configuring products; and disclose APIs, communications and other technical information needed for interoperability.
Microsoft attorney Steve Holley asked Appel to define terms in the proposal, including "middleware," "middleware products," "directory" and "network operating system"--subjects on which other states witnesses have already testified. As an illustration of the difficulty Microsoft would have trying to comply with the remedy requirements, Holley attempted to show that the states witnesses themselves did not always define the terms consistently.