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Microsoft seeks summary ruling

The software giant is expected to file a motion to dismiss all or key parts of the antitrust lawsuit filed against it by the DOJ and 20 states.

Microsoft on Monday is expected to file a motion to dismiss all or key parts of the antitrust lawsuit filed against the software giant by the Justice Department and 20 states, sources said today.

The plan to file a motion for summary judgment is expected to be discussed by Microsoft lawyers at a hearing now underway before District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson.

A party files a motion for summary judgment when it believes the facts of a case are undisputed. It asks the judge to decide the matter and issue an opinion without a trial. The motion is expected to rely heavily on a recent federal appeals court decision, which held that Microsoft's integration of new features in its Windows operating system did not violate antitrust laws so long as the combination benefited consumers.

By Monday, Microsoft also must file a lengthy document opposing prosecutors' request for a preliminary injunction. Both filings are expected to detail Microsoft's defense in the high-profile antitrust case.

The software giant already outlined its defense last month. For example, it said that:

• It planned to integrate its Internet Explorer technologies "long before" Netscape Communications even existed, refuting the government's claim. In a conference call, Microsoft said that it has been working since as far back as late 1993 on its browser integration.

• The company denied that it tried to "illegally divide" the browser market with Netscape in spring 1995. "Representatives of Microsoft met with representatives of Netscape in Redmond, Washington, on June 2, 1995, and again in Mountain View, California, on June 21, 1995, to explore ways in which the two companies could work together...Microsoft has never attempted to divide the market for Internet browser software."

• It denied government allegations that the company had entered into exclusionary contracts with Internet service providers or Internet content providers.

Some details in Monday's filing already are leaking out. For example, Microsoft is expected to reveal that it held a day-long retreat on April 6, 1994--two days after Netscape was founded--during which chief executive Bill Gates discussed plans to provide Windows with Internet access included. This detail was first reported today by the New York Times.

Many other details are expected to be discussed in Monday's filing as well.