Microsoft, States Wind Down Hearing

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2002-05-13
 
 
 

Attorneys for Microsoft Corp. and the states seeking penalties against the company spent Monday afternoon in a teleconference with U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly and have established a schedule for rounding out the hearing later this week, with closing arguments in June.

Kollar-Kotelly has worked out a schedule where the two sides will appear in court Wednesday through Friday afternoons to focus on various motions pending. Each side will get 45 minutes for their initial presentations each day, a Microsoft spokesman said.

On Wednesday, the sides will argue motions relating to the scope of the case, particularly as it relates to new information and what Microsoft has called the states attempt to broaden the case beyond what was found to be unlawful in the liability phase of the case. These issues involve other markets and products, and events that took place before the conclusion of the liability trial. The parties also will argue what effect U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jacksons findings of fact and conclusions of law relating to the antitrust trial should have in this remedy phase.

In addition, the two sides will argue Microsofts motion for partial judgment. The Redmond, Wash., company wants the judge to reject the states proposed "unbinding" remedy, which would force Microsoft to deliver a modular version of Windows.

On Thursday, Microsoft and the states—nine states and the District of Columbia, all of which rejected a settlement reached last year between the U.S. Department of Justice and Microsoft—will argue Microsofts motion to dismiss the case. Microsoft filed the motion in February, challenging the states standing in this case and arguing the need for uniform enforcement and administration of antitrust law under one authority—the Department of Justice. The states proposal, if entered, could create conflicting national competition policies. The parties also will argue another Microsofts motion in which the company maintains that the states failed to establish the requisite causal link between anticompetitive acts and Microsofts market position, and also failed to establish any injury.

On Friday, the parties will argue the issue of enforcement of whatever consent decree the judge orders. The arguments will key on the "special master" proposal the states have backed, a Microsoft spokesman said. Each side will get 30 minutes to argue this motion.

Meanwhile, Kollar-Kotelly has scheduled closing arguments in the case for June 19.

Rocket Fuel