Suing states want unbundled Windows

The nine states that did not join the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in settling the antitrust case with Microsoft Corp. plan to propose a set of remedies to the federal judge overseeing the case on Friday.

Attorneys general from these states are tentatively planning to hold a press conference mid-afternoon on Friday to discuss the proposed remedies, according to sources. The proposal must be filed with U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly by 4:30 p.m. (EST) on Friday, the sources said.

While press reports have described different remedies under consideration, it appears that the states’ proposal is still in flux. The discussion among the states regarding remedies is ongoing, said one source who asked for anonymity and who is an official at the attorney general’s office of one of the suing states. Another source who also didn’t want to be named said that the states on Thursday are asking for input from industry experts regarding the proposal, which could alter the draft remedies that already have been crafted.

According to published reports, lawyers representing attorneys general from the nine holdout states – California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Florida, Kansas, Minnesota, West Virginia, and Utah, plus the District of Columbia – met on Wednesday to hammer out a remedy proposal that includes tougher enforcement sanctions and that closes a number of what these states consider loopholes in the DOJ’s settlement agreement with Microsoft, which nine other states did agree to last month.

This remedy proposal would force Microsoft to offer to both computer makers and consumers the option of buying Windows without bundled applications, such as a browser or media player, according to an article in the New York Times.

According to a Reuters report, demanding a cheaper, stripped-down version of Windows is one of the possibilities the nine states are considering. Also under consideration is a requirement that Microsoft must include support for Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Java programming language in Windows XP, the report said.

Microsoft will respond to the states’ Friday filing by Dec. 12.

Meanwhile, a collection of consumer advocate groups on Wednesday cheered the holdout states while denouncing the proposed settlement that Microsoft, the DOJ, and nine other states agreed to.