http://www.cnn.com/2002/TECH/industry/02/16/microsoft.code.reut/index.html


  Judge: Microsoft must give states Windows code


      Sets March 6 for hearings on proposed settlement

February 16, 2002 Posted: 12:42 PM EST (1742 GMT)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) --Microsoft will have to supply the computer code
for its Windows program to a group of states seeking stiffer antitrust
sanctions against the software giant, a federal judge ruled Friday.

Nine state attorneys general had argued that they needed to see the
Windows source code in order to verify Microsoft's claim it could not
offer a simpler version of the Windows personal computer operating
system, stripped of features like the Internet Explorer browser.

"It seems to me that if your side has access to it, then the other side,
frankly, should have access to it," United States District Judge Colleen
Kollar-Kotelly told Microsoft's lawyers in a conference call with
attorneys from both sides.

A transcript of the conversation was later made available.

Microsoft had tried to argue that the states' request for the code, made
Tuesday, came too late before hearings due to begin next month on
whether additional sanctions should apply to the company for violating
U.S. antitrust laws.

Under the judge's order, Microsoft would provide access to the latest
code for Windows, including Windows XP embedded, a version the states
believe shows the software can be easily customized.

An appeals court in June agreed with a lower court that Microsoft had
illegally maintained its monopoly in personal computer operating
systems, but rejected splitting the company in two to prevent future
violations.

Among the illegal tactics cited by the court was the "commingling" of
the Windows source code with add-on programs.

The U.S. Justice Department and another nine states that had joined in
the case have agreed to a settlement with Microsoft that would, among
other things, give computer makers more flexibility to feature rival
software on their machines.

Microsoft has balked at the additional demands of the states that have
not settled. They want to give competitors easy access to the detailed
Windows code and ensure Microsoft's Office suite of business programs
works with other software platforms.

The proposed settlement and the suggestions for stronger sanctions are
to be considered by Kollar-Kotelly in separate, but roughly parallel
proceedings.


      Hearings to begin March 6

The judge Friday set March 6 as the date to begin hearings on whether
the settlement is in the public interest.

She said she had still not decided whether to allow third parties, such
as the states that have not settled, to make presentations at the
settlement hearing. "If I did, it probably would be like a 10-minute
hearing per party," Kollar-Kotelly said.

Hearings on the rival proposals of the states that have not settled are
tentatively due to begin on March 11.

Kollar-Kotelly has so far given no sign she will pass judgment on
settlement before hearing the arguments of the dissenting states.

In addition to handing over the Windows code, the states that have not
settled had also asked the judge to appoint a technical expert to help
provide impartial opinions on complex technical issues raised by the case.

Kollar-Kotelly said there was too little time to find the right person
for that role.

She also urged both sides to shorten their witness lists.

Kollar-Kotelly proposed meeting with attorneys for both sides next week
to discuss issues still not resolved between the parties over the format
of the remedy hearings.




--
Chris Rehm
javadisciple@earthlink.net

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one
that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 1 John 4:7




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