Microsoft condemns Massachusetts' pursuit of "extreme" sanctions

Microsoft has accused the last state to refuse settlement in the software giant's antitrust deal with the Department of Justice...

Microsoft has accused one of the remaining states holding out against its antitrust deal with the Department of Justice of pursuing sanctions that would benefit Microsoft competitors, not consumers.

Massachusetts continues to pursue "extreme" antitrust remedies, Microsoft lawyers wrote in a brief filed with the Columbia appeal court.

Microsoft argues that Massachusetts has largely ignored a District Court finding and instead repeats its own proposed remedies in a brief filed in May. These include requiring Microsoft to unbundle its operating system from all middleware products.

Microsoft argued that such a separation between its OS and middleware applications would be nearly impossible.

Massachusetts said that District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly erred in rejecting requests that Microsoft disclose its Windows application programming interfaces to third-party developers and release the Internet Explorer code in an open source licence.

Microsoft has also filed a brief in response to an appeal by the Computer and Communications Industry Association and the Software and Information Industry Association. The industry groups argue that the antitrust settlement is not in the public interest.

"Only Massachusetts and a couple of groups of Microsoft competitors are continuing with their efforts to impose over-reaching and punitive terms that the District Court has already determined would harm not just Microsoft, but the software industry and the economy as well," spokesman Jim Desler said.

"Today's filing by Microsoft merely underscores what almost everyone now accepts as fact  - that the District Court's thorough review and comprehensive rulings represent a fair and appropriate remedy in this case."

R Hewitt Pate, assistant attorney general in charge of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division, said the Microsoft settlement is in the public interest, and promised the Justice Department would enforce its terms.

Grant Gross writes for IDG News Service

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