Judge Concerned Over Microsoft Deal

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2001-12-11 Print this article Print

Federal Judge J. Frederick Motz on Tuesday expressed concern about including California in the proposed settlement of more than 100 private antitrust suits against Microsoft.

Maryland Federal District Court Judge J. Frederick Motz on Tuesday expressed concern about including California in the proposed settlement of more than 100 private antitrust suits against Microsoft Corp. The private antitrust cases were brought against Microsoft last year following the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson that the Redmond, Wash., company had violated two sections of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
Judge Motz has been hearing arguments from parties for and against the proposed settlement, with Microsoft presenting its case on Monday .
Some Californian class-action lawyers have opposed the deal and have asked the Judge to strike down the settlement or allow their lawsuits to proceed separately in California. They feel the settlement negotiated by Microsoft and the other class-action lawyers is a ploy designed to entrench the Windows monopoly while allowing the company to pay only a tiny fraction of what it actually owes consumers. Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler told eWeek today that Microsoft and lawyers representing plaintiffs from California will meet next Tuesday to see if they can find a way to bring California on board. "The settlement we have negotiated is a national one and so the judge and all the other parties would like to work towards including California in it," Desler said. In a meeting with the parties this morning in Baltimore, Motz had expressed concern about including California in the proposed settlement given its objections and, as such, had encouraged the parties to try and resolve the matter, Desler said. Judge Motz also confirmed his intention to make a decision in the matter fairly quickly, probably within the next two weeks, Desler said. Microsoft also faces further legal battles this week. On Wednesday the U.S. Senates Judiciary Committee is scheduled to examine the credibility of the proposed antitrust settlement between Microsoft and the federal government. It will hear testimony from the U.S. Justice Department, attorneys general from states in favor and opposed to the settlement, and from a Microsoft executive or lawyer. Desler said Microsoft would be represented by legal counsel and that no executives would appear before the committee. Also on Wednesday, Microsoft will file its response to the proposals suggested last week by the nine states and the District of Columbia who refused to sign the settlement between the federal government and Microsoft. Desler said he expected the software firm to file its proposal sometime in the afternoon following its appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
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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