MS Seeks to Keeps Rivals Out of Appeals Process

Microsoft yesterday filed a request with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia asking that its competitors not be allowed to file friend-of-the-court briefs in the appeal of the June decision to split the company in two.

All friend-of-the-court, or amicus curiae, briefs for the appeal were due yesterday.

The software maker, deemed a monopoly by Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, says its competitors already testified during the trial, and beyond that, they don't have a compelling interest in the case. If allowed to file, they should do so in a single brief, Microsoft attorneys said.

The government's brief, which was two paragraphs long, said the court should accept any amicus filings that would be helpful.

Two organizations, the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) and the Computing Technology Industry Association, have asked permission to file a joint brief in support of Microsoft's appeal. Microsoft is a partial financial backer of the ACT.

The opposing briefs have been filed by Sun Microsystems Inc., IBM, Oracle Corp. and America Online Inc.; by organizations partly funded by these companies; and by three individuals.

One of those, Lee A. Hollaar, has been a witness against Microsoft in other cases and has testified about the source code of some of Microsoft's software based on access to that code in another case, according to the Microsoft brief. Hollaar wasn't supposed to use that knowledge for anything but that specific case, and therefore his testimony and briefs filed in this case are inappropriate, Microsoft argued.

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