28 February 2002 Software giant Microsoft is believed to have asked US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to dismiss the case of the nine remaining US states in the long-running anti-trust case.
The filing by Microsoft’s lawyers questions the legal legitimacy of the state’s actions. Raising constitutional issues is being interpreted as an attempt by Microsoft to bring the case before the US Supreme Court. The response from the remaining nine states was swift. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said that Microsoft’s move would be resisted strongly.
The company’s move to dismiss the case also comes ahead of a trial to determine settlement remedies, scheduled to begin on 11 March 2002. A number of Microsoft’s competitors and opponents have submitted requests to present at the hearing that have, so far, been rejected by Judge Kollar-Kotelly.
On 11 November 2001, the US Department of Justice and nine of the 18 states reached an agreement with Microsoft, but the other nine states claimed this settlement was far too weak. They said it failed to address any of the points on which Microsoft was found guilty and would not prevent a repetition of such behaviour in the future.
For the time being the case is continuing on two separate tracks. This is the approval process for the November 2001 settlement, according to the US Tunney Act, and also the ongoing activities to determine an alternative remedy. The 1974 Tunney Act states that any settlement agreed must be in the public interest.
Despite Microsoft’s latest attempt to bring a quick end to its anti-trust tribulations, the March hearing looks set to last into April 2002.