Microsoft Seeks to Delay Litigation with States

By Caron Carlson  |  Posted 2001-12-21

Microsoft Corp. today asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to extend the schedule in its ongoing litigation with nine states by at least four months, arguing that the states have dramatically expanded the scope of the litigation.

Microsoft also released a preliminary list of witnesses it plans to call in the case, consisting solely of six of its own officers.

Calling the states remedy proposals extreme and far-reaching, Microsoft filed a motion for an extension in the scheduling order. A pre-conference hearing in the ongoing litigation is currently scheduled March 4.

But in the same timeframe, the same court will be reviewing whether a separate settlement agreement that Microsoft reached with the Department of Justice and nine other states is in the public interests.

Microsoft had hoped to have the court issue a final ruling on the settlement before hearing the dissenting states case. Critics of the settlement argue that the court should consider the states concerns in the context of reviewing the settlement, however.

Leery of being charged with trying to drag out the proceedings to its advantage, Microsoft emphasized that it cannot be accused of seeking to delay the imposition of a remedy in this case because Microsoft began complying with the RPFJ (revised proposed final judgment). The fault for any delay, according to the Redmond, Wash. software maker, instead lies with the non-settling states, which have effectively initiated an entirely new case under the guise of pursuing a remedy for the specific acts found to be anticompetitive by the Court of Appeals. Microsofts preliminary witness list includes: Steve Ballmer, CEO; Jeff Raikes, group vice president, Business Productivity Services Management; Richard Fade, senior vice president, OEM Division Management; Chris Jones, corporate vice president, Windows Client Team; Rob Short, corporate vice president, Windows Base OS Kernel; Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president, MSN.

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