Microsoft: Antitrust suits moved to federal courts

Two private antitrust lawsuits filed against Microsoft by its competitors have been transferred to a federal court, under the...

Two private antitrust lawsuits filed against Microsoft by its competitors have been transferred to a federal court, under the same judge who is overseeing more than 100 private class-action antitrust lawsuits against the software maker.

The cases by Sun Microsystems and Be and an antitrust suit by Netscape Communications will be moved to federal courts and co-ordinated by Judge Frederick Motz.

The lawsuits against Microsoft by Sun and Be were transferred by request of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, a body charged with streamlining related cases filed in multiple districts, according to Sun and Be.

"Microsoft made a motion to the court to have it joined with other cases," said Dan Johnston, president of Be.

Sun is suing Microsoft over claims that the software maker used anti-competitive practices to block the distribution of its Java technology. Be, a former operating system maker, has claimed that its downfall was a result of Microsoft's anti-competitive maneuvers in the market for desktop operating systems.

"The significance is that they'll be litigating in one forum, with one judge, and with less risk of inconsistent proceedings and rulings," said Emmett Stanton, an attorney with the law firm Fenwick & West, who has closely followed Microsoft's antitrust case. "It works to Microsoft's advantage to be in one place rather than three."

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