13 June 2002 A US federal judge has thrown out software giant Microsoft’s request to have the case of the nine remaining rebel states in the antitrust trial dismissed. The dissenting states are seeking tougher penalties against Microsoft than those agreed by the US Department of Justice and nine other states in November 2001.
“The Court concludes that Microsoft’s motion is without merit and must be denied,” said presiding US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.
A large chunk of Microsoft’s argument was that the dissenting states had no authority to pursue the case after the 2001 settlement. In effect, the rebel states were undermining the federal government’s mandate to set antitrust policy, according to Microsoft.
However, Kollar-Kotelly said the issue of the rebel states’ jurisdiction had been dealt with in 2001. She also hinted that the company’s real gripe might not be with jurisdiction of the rebel states.
Microsoft’s motion “cannot be couched in terms of jurisdiction and instead appear to raise issues relating to judgement on the (case’s) merits,” said Kotelly. An additional 25 states, including New York state, which was actually involved in the 2001 settlement, have emerged to oppose Microsoft’s motion.
The judge’s ruling will speed the conclusion of the landmark trial, which has run for more than four years. Kollar-Kotelly said that the final closing arguments would go ahead next week on 19 June.