US urge court to deny Microsoft delay request

By : |January 2, 1998 0



WASHINGTON: Government prosecutors on Friday urged a federal appeals court to
reject Microsoft Corp.’s request to delay the antitrust case against the
company. The U.S. Justice Department and 18 states suing Microsoft argued that
the case should proceed as quickly as possible and dismissed the idea that it
should go on hold while the company appeals to the US Supreme Court.

The government filing comes three days after Microsoft asked the Supreme
Court to reverse an appeals court ruling that the company abused its monopoly in
personal computer operating systems, citing misconduct by a lower-court judge.
In a separate legal filing, Microsoft also asked the US Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia to delay an order that would send the case back to the
lower court to determine what remedies should be imposed against the company to
prevent future antitrust violations. The government said Microsoft had
"little prospect" of obtaining Supreme Court review, let alone winning
reversal of the appeals court’s unanimous June 28 ruling.

"By contrast, granting a stay would further delay the public’s remedy
and contribute to uncertainty in the market," the government filing said.
Barring any delays, the appeals court is scheduled to send the case back to a
lower court within days. The timing for moving the case could be crucial for
Microsoft, which is due to roll out its new Windows XP operating system, loaded
with new features, in October.

Microsoft executives have repeatedly said they want to move the case along as
quickly as possible. However, many antitrust attorneys say the company may be
hoping to delay the case so any sanctions won’t be imposed by the courts until
after Microsoft rolls out Windows XP.

Some of the states supporting the case have expressed concern that Windows XP
represents a troubling repetition of Microsoft’s integration of its Internet
Explorer browser into Windows 98, integration that the appeals court agreed had
helped shore up the Windows monopoly. If the appeals court grants Microsoft’s
request for a delay, the case would go on hold until October, when the Supreme
Court is scheduled to return from recess.

(C) Reuters Limited 2001.

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