Microsoft Antitrust Foes Head Back to Court

Federal court Thursday agreed to hear an appeal from two software trade groups contesting Microsoft's federal antitrust settlement agreement.

A federal court Thursday agreed to hear an appeal from two software trade groups contesting Microsoft Corp.s federal antitrust settlement agreement.

The groups, the Computer & Communications Industry Association and the Software and Information Industry Association, join Massachusetts and West Virginia in continuing the legal battle that started in 1998. Six other states and the District of Columbia accepted a decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in November to approve with few changes the antitrust remedies agreed to by the Department of Justice.

CCIA and SIIA contend that the federal settlement does not "unfetter" the market from anti-competitive behavior or deny Microsoft the fruits of its illegal conduct, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit had ordered the district court to ensure.

Massachusetts initiated an investigation into Microsofts anti-competitive practices in 1996. In 2000, the district court found that Microsoft had used predatory practices to sustain a monopoly in the operating system market and ordered as a remedy that the company be divided. Microsoft won an appeal of the remedy decision in 2001, and the matter was sent back to the district court, where Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly last year presided over a second remedy hearing.

A panel of the appeals courts judges will begin hearing the appeal of Kollar-Kotellys decision in May.

Latest Microsoft News:

Latest Stories by Caron Carlson:
Microsoft Watch.