States urge judge to deny Microsoft hearing delay

The nine states that have refused to sign a settlement agreement in the U.S. government’s antitrust case against Microsoft Corp. urged a federal judge on Monday to deny the software maker’s request to push back a hearing on behavioural remedies.

By late Monday, Microsoft submitted its own response to the court, stressing that it needed a delay due to the fact that the states’ remedy proposals were “fundamentally different than the remedy proposals embodied in the DOJ settlement.”

Microsoft two weeks ago asked U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to delay a hearing scheduled for March 11 so that the company would have more time to prepare a response to the states’ proposed remedy, which asked the court to impose technical and business restrictions that the software maker termed “draconian” in a court document seeking the delay.

California, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Utah and West Virginia are the nine states that have not agreed to the settlement proposal Microsoft reached with the U.S. Department of Justice and other state attorneys general. The District of Columbia also has refused to agree to the proposed settlement and joined the nine hold-out states in Monday’s court filing urging rejection of the hearing delay.

“That Microsoft stands to benefit from delay is obvious,” the court document says. “It is equally obvious that consumers and competitors who have been and are being harmed by Microsoft’s monopolistic conduct stand to suffer further from the passage of additional time.”

Microsoft has been aware of the remedies the states were likely to propose and that those would be broader in scope than previously proposed remedies, the states and the District of Columbia argued in the document. Assertions made by Microsoft in its recent request to delay the hearing are “flatly contradicted” by the court record, the states and the district contended.

For its part, Microsoft replied in its own statement: “Any delay is the fault of the non-settling states, who have gone far beyond the legitimate scope of this remedy phase and have launched, in essence, an entirely new case against the company.”

Judge Kollar-Kotelly has yet to issue a response to the dueling court documents.

The National Association of Attorneys General Web site is at

Microsoft Canada Co. in Mississauga, Ont., is at