The Department of Justice will defend its antitrust settlement with Microsoft Corp. in court this fall, when two states and two IT trade groups present arguments to overturn the landmark deal.
According to a spokeswoman, the Justice Department will present its defense of the settlement before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Nov. 4. The department will also file a brief with the court June 18, in response to written arguments submitted by the Computer and Communications Industry Association and the Software and Information Industry Association.
On Nov. 4, the Justice Department and Microsoft will face Ken Starr and Robert Bork, who are representing CCIA and SIIA. In a written argument filed on behalf of the trade groups earlier this month, Bork and Starr charged that the settlement would not prevent Microsoft from illegally driving new middleware technology out of the market.
The court will hear the trade associations case at the same time it hears an appeal brought by Massachusetts and West Virgnia, the two states still seeking to overturn the federal settlement. The Justice Department will not file a brief responding to the states written arguments, however.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia approved the federal settlement with minor conditions in November. The settlement spells out steps that Microsoft must take to remedy the illegal anti-competitive conduct it was found to have perpetrated in the desktop operating system market.
Massachusetts and West Virginia were among nine states plus the District of Columbia to seek tougher remedies than those which the Justice Department settled on. In a brief field with the appeals court early this month, the states argued that the remedies do not stop Microsofts illegal conduct, restore competitive conditions, or deny the Redmond, Wash., software giant the fruits of its anti-competitive behavior.
Microsoft, which will file its own written arguments with the appeals court June 18, is expected to argue that alternative remedy proposals are overreaching and punitive.
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