Trade Groups Appeal Kollar-Kotellys Call

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2002-12-24

Trade Groups Appeal Kollar-Kotellys Call

Two computer industry trade associations have weighed in with requests to appeal the ruling in the landmark Microsoft antitrust case.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) have jointly filed a motion with the U.S. District Court in Washington asking for permission to appeal the settlement between Microsoft Corp. and the federal government and several states.

The parties filed their motion last Friday with U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who oversaw the settlement between Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Justice and nine states. Meanwhile, nine other states that sued Microsoft decided to seek stiffer penalties against the software giant in a proceeding Kollar-Kotelly heard earlier this year. Kollar-Kotelly ruled largely in Microsofts favor but granted the states some additional relief not afforded in the initial settlement.

However, two states, Massachusetts and West Virginia, appealed the judges ruling. If allowed to intervene, CCIA and SIIA will represent a different challenge to the judges rulings in the cases.

"Our members are directly impacted by the terms of the settlement entered into between the Department of Justice and Microsoft," said Ken Wasch, president of SIIA. "After careful analysis of the terms of the settlement and after carefully reading Judge Kollar-Kotellys ruling, we respectfully conclude that this settlement is not in the public interest. We believe the appeals court should have an opportunity to review that determination."

Ed Black, president of CCIA, said: "This case is too important to the economy and to consumers not to have the public interest determination of this settlement reviewed by the appeals court. We have extensively reviewed not only the terms of the decree, but also Microsofts compliance with the decree over the past year. It is abundantly clear to the industry that competition will not be restored through this settlement. Consequently, we believe the settlement falls short of both the public interest standard in the Tunney Act and the antitrust remedial standards articulated by the appeals court."

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled last year that Microsoft had in fact illegally abused its monopoly power and assigned Kollar-Kotelly to come up with a remedy other than the breakup order that U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson initially ordered. The appellate court took Jackson off the case and ordered the case moved to a new judge.

In other Microsoft legal news, Sendo Plc., a British mobile phone maker said it has filed a suit against Microsoft in the United States claiming Microsoft stole its technology and shared it with other companies after a deal between Microsoft and Sendo failed to materialize.

A spokeswoman for the company confirmed that Sendo filed suit against Microsoft in U.S. federal court last Friday.

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