Judge to Hear Remedies Arguments

BOSTON (05/24/2000) - Attorneys for Microsoft Corp. and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) are due in federal court this morning for oral arguments regarding their respective remedy recommendations in the government's antitrust case against the software maker.

Microsoft has asked U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson to alter the hearing schedule in the case and also has filed a motion that he dismiss a government proposal that the company be split in two. The judge has not yet ruled on those issues.

In an unexpected move, Microsoft last week filed a court brief previewing today's oral arguments and noting that in a previous separate but related case, the DOJ argued before a different federal judge that "remedies such as dismembering Microsoft ... would act against the public interest." [See "Microsoft Goes the Extra Mile," The Industry Standard, May 22. ]Besides recommending that Jackson divide the company into two entities, the government also has suggested a number of behavioral remedies. The breakup has, however, become a major focus of the case. The DOJ and 17 of the 19 state attorneys general, who also are plaintiffs, want Microsoft to be divided into one company focused on operating systems and another focused on all other software applications, including the Internet Explorer browser, which has been at the heart of the government's antitrust case. The other two attorneys general have recommended behavioral remedies only.

Microsoft responded by proposing behavioral remedies and said that it would agree to begin those immediately if Jackson ruled out the breakup plan.

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