Microsoft rebuffed in complaint against AOL

The judge presiding over the US government's antitrust case against Microsoft has said the company is needlessly lengthening...

The judge presiding over the US government's antitrust case against Microsoft has said the company is needlessly lengthening legal proceedings through casting doubt about AOL Time Warner's (AOLTW) conduct in the case.

Microsoft filed a motion with the US District Court for the District of Columbia last week, asking that AOLTW hand over documents related to the antitrust case, or face being precluded from third-party testimony.

With the motion, Microsoft asserted that AOLTW was purposefully holding back information while aiding the US states that decided not to settle with the government and nine states in the antitrust case.

In a statement released by the company last week, Microsoft claimed that AOLTW's "uncooperative attitude on document production stands in stark contrast to their active, behind-the-scenes involvement with the non-settling states."

However, US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued an order saying Microsoft's assertions were too "narrow" to require the court's intervention.

"The court further notes that the aspersions cast in the parties' pleadings as to the respective motivations of the opposing party do not advance the resolution of the issues presently before the court and in truth, only serve to lengthen needlessly the parties' filings," Kollar-Kotelly wrote.

In the order, the judge urged the parties to independently resolve their dispute.

Microsoft's complaint against AOLTW is just the latest volley in a series of skirmishes between the rival companies. Earlier this week, AOLTW's Netscape subsidiary sued Microsoft for anti-competitive practices related to the company's Windows operating system. Soon after, Microsoft lodged its complaint against AOLTW.

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