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Wednesday, 27 February, 2002, 22:54 GMT
Microsoft fights tougher sanctions
Bill Gates and Justice Dept logo
Technology giant Microsoft has asked a federal judge to reject demands by some US states for tougher restrictions on the company.

The states in question rejected a legal settlement reached with Microsoft last November after a three-year anti-trust case.


[The states] cannot displace the United States in its role of establishing national competition policy

Microsoft
In a legal filing on Wednesday, Microsoft said that the states could not supplant the federal government in deciding anti-trust policy.

"Under well-settled legal and constitutional principles, the non-settling states are limited to seeking redress for state-specific injuries caused by Microsoft's conduct," said a Microsoft statement.

"They cannot displace the United States in its role of establishing national competition policy."

Clarifications

In a separate filing, the company also said that it and the government would make clarifications to the proposed settlement.

Company spokesman Jim Desler would not disclose what the changes would be, but said they were the result of public comments submitted to the Justice Department on the settlement.

The majority of the comments received were critical of the deal.

Earlier this month, the Justice Department released 47 comments on the deal received from parties deemed to be "major".

Only five of these comments, which contain detailed analysis of significant issues, supported the settlement.

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department, which will make its case for the settlement in a separate filing, confirmed the two sides would make changes.

Last November, nine US states agreed to the settlement, which imposes a range of penalties on Microsoft, but a further nine said the measures were not strict enough.

The nine states rejecting the settlement are District of Columbia, California, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Utah and West Virginia.

Settlement deal

The penalties under the proposed settlement would prevent Microsoft from taking retaliatory actions against computer makers that include rival software titles on new machines.

The settlement also calls for the appointment of an independent auditor to monitor the company's behaviour.

However, the nine dissenting states say the company's Windows operating system should be separated from "bundled" software such as browsers and media players.

Critics of Microsoft have argued that this software hinders the efforts of competitors.

The nine states will argue their case against the settlement before US District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 11 March.


The settlement

Appeal court ruling

Appeal hearing

Analysis
See also:

16 Feb 02 | Business
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