In a pretrial conference before Judge Frederick Motz of the US District Court for the District of Maryland, the date was set for a class certification of the cases. The parties also chose 24 October as the date for a hearing on whether Microsoft can be bound by findings already issued in the US Department of Justice's case against the software maker, according to sources who attended the hearing.
A third hearing in the court, scheduled to begin 3 December, will consider Sun Microsystems' claim that Microsoft used anticompetitive practices to block the distribution of its Java technology.
Sun, along with Netscape Communications, now a subsidiary of AOL Time Warner, Be Inc, and Burst.com are the competitors whose antitrust lawsuits against Microsoft have been assigned to Motz. The competitors' cases were transferred to Motz at the request of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, whose job is to streamline related cases filed in multiple districts. In addition, Motz has been overseeing the more than 100 cases filed by consumers.