No delay for Microsoft antitrust remedy hearing

In a setback for Microsoft, the judge overseeing the software giant's antitrust case has rejected the company's request to delay...

In a setback for Microsoft, the judge overseeing the software giant's antitrust case has rejected the company's request to delay the start of the remedy hearings, scheduled to begin in less than two months.

Before Microsoft attorneys could begin their arguments for moving the remedy hearings from 4 March until late summer, US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly told the company's attorneys that she was not interested in any delays.

"I can say at the outset that I'm not extending this schedule by four or four and a half months," said Kollar-Kotelly, who also pointed out that Microsoft has the legal muscle to meet her original schedule. "Certainly no one can claim that they lack the resources."

In court papers filed last month, Microsoft argued for a delay to meet "breathtaking" demands for documents about the company's business practices made by the nine states that have refused to settle this case. The company claimed the US states that are refusing to settle are bringing up new products and new issues at the remedy phase that will require more legal preparation.

Nine states and the US Department of Justice have agreed to settle the case, and Kollar-Kotelly is now receiving public comment on that remedy. But nine other states, led by California, Connecticut and Iowa, are proceeding with the case and have filed a set of remedies that go further than those sought by the Justice department.

The states want Microsoft Word ported to other operating systems, such as Linux, and an unbundled version of the Windows operating systems, among other sanctions.

Microsoft attorney Dan Webb told the judge that the remedy is moving the case into new products, new issues and new markets where there is no existing court record. Moreover, he argued, the company is facing resistance from some of its competitors for documents and depositions.

However, Kollar-Kotelly told the government that if its witnesses were dragging their feet in meeting Microsoft's request, she would exclude those witnesses from the remedy phase.

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