Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Trade Groups Appeal Microsoft Settlement

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Two trade groups representing Microsoft’s competitors, which strongly oppose
the government’s recent settlement with Microsoft , are appealing a district court’s recent ruling.

The Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and the Software
and Information Industry Association (SIIA) have filed an appeal with the
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Back on November 1st, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, presiding
over the case, approved a settlement struck between Microsoft and the Bush
administration’s Justice Department.

The trade associations are not alone in pushing for an appeal of the
settlement, Massachusetts and West Virginia also would like to see tougher
sanctions against Microsoft. Seven other states dropped their concerns of
the Microsoft settlement on November 28th. Litigation associated with the
Microsoft anti-trust trial has now been going on for more than four years.

As part of the settlement approved by Judge Kollar-Kotelly, Microsoft agreed
to give computer hardware manufacturers more freedom to feature rival
software programs on their machines by permitting them to hide some
Microsoft icons on the Windows desktop.

The two trade associations are both longtime critics of Microsoft, and there
are questions whether the latest appeal, coupled with the legal moves by
nine states attorney general, will reverse Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s earlier

CCIA and SIIA argue that the Microsoft settlement is not in the “public
interest” and think the appeals court should review its previous decisions.

“Both CCIA and SIIA represent broad segments of the high technology industry
with substantial interests in the settlement, including Independent Software
Vendors, Independent Hardware Vendors, and Internet Access Providers. CCIA
and SIIA both submitted extensive comments to the government during the
Tunney Act review arguing that the terms of the settlement failed to remedy
even the specific acts found to have been anticompetitive by the appeals
court,” said a statement released by the two trade associations.

As part of its legal appeal, the trade groups, which represent a number of
Microsoft’s main competitors, including Sun Microsystems , Oracle and AOL Time Warner , point to the importance of public comments in the case, as part of the Tunney Act proceedings.

The Tunney Act is a federal statute the spells out
the steps that are to be taken in federal antitrust settlement to make sure
any deal cut is not impacted by outside influence, and is in the public’s
best interest.

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