Judge Admits Friends of Court

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-02-28 Print this article Print

The Project to Promote Competition & Innovation in the Digital Age (ProComp) and SBC Communications Inc. would be allowed to participate as "friends of the court" in the Tunney Act proceedings currently underway in the antitrust case between M

The Project to Promote Competition & Innovation in the Digital Age (ProComp) and SBC Communications Inc. would be allowed to participate as "friends of the court" in the Tunney Act proceedings currently underway in the antitrust case between Microsoft Corp. and the U.S. Department of Justice, Washington District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled on Thursday. But neither party would be allowed to intervene in the matter, she said in the two separate opinions and orders filed with the court on Thursday. The court has received requests from a number of parties to be allowed to intervene for a limited purpose or appear as an amicus curiae or "friend of the court"
Kollar-Kotelly, who said ProComp appeared to represent a vocal group of Microsofts staunchest competitors, described the groups request as "somewhat redundant in light of the lengthy comment it submitted to the Department of Justice in response to the proposed consent decree [between Microsoft and the DOJ]."
Even the single piece of evidence that ProComp wanted to have admitted, the testimony of economist Kenneth Arrow, had been appended, in the form of a declaration, to ProComps submission of commentary to the Department of Justice, she said. "ProComp does not indicate what more Professor Arrow would add to that declaration if permitted to appear before the court in conjunction with the Tunney Act proceedings. ProComp also did not indicate what further argument it will offer if allowed to participate as amicus curiae or otherwise in the Tunney Act proceedings," she said, adding that "the Court considers any additional participation by ProComp to be largely superfluous." Regarding SBCs request, the Judge said that SBC would be allowed to participate in a limited capacity as an amicus curiae since it continued to argue that it would not have an opportunity to reply to the written responses filed with the court by Microsoft and the government." But Kollar-Kotelly made clear that this participation would be governed by strict parameters. "The court wants first to emphasize that any participation as amicus curiae should not be utilized to repeat arguments and assertions detailed in that entitys comments [already] filed. "Instead, the Court shall permit each entity serving as amicus curiae to submit a single amicus brief in reply to the memoranda filed by Microsoft and the United States in response to the public comments," she said in her two opinions. Each reply memorandum would not be allowed to exceed twenty-five pages and both ProComp and SBC could use the reply memorandum to raise arguments in response to memoranda filed by the United States and Microsoft on February 27, 2002, and March 1, 2002. They could also use them to address new issues and arguments which were not raised in the comments they had already filed with the Department of Justice. The Court would also allow both ProComp and SBC Communications to address it for no more than ten minutes during the upcoming Tunney Act hearing. ProComp and SBC could use this time to "address any issues not previously raised in its comments and/or to emphasize the most significant issues raised in its comments. "Again, the Court does not want this time to be spent summarizing or rehashing issues previously discussed in detail in the comments filed with the Department of Justice. Participation of amici beyond these parameters will not be permitted, as such participation threatens to burden the court with duplicative material and, more importantly, is unlikely to be of great assistance to the court," she said in her opinions.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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