Trustbusters put heat on Microsoft

Prosecutors renew a request for a court order requiring the giant to turn over computer vendor databases relating to operating systems.

Antitrust prosecutors today renewed their request for a court order requiring Microsoft to turn over the contents of computer vendor databases relating to operating systems.

The Justice Department and 20 states requested a similar order in early September, after Microsoft had refused to hand over the information. At a hearing on the matter, U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson declined to issue the order after Microsoft attorneys said they were working with the government to resolve the matter.

"Despite repeated requests by plaintiffs, Microsoft has not complied with [the] request," the government argued in today's brief. "Instead of providing copies of the materials identified, Microsoft has produced stripped-down versions that cannot be used or analyzed in an efficient manner."

Specifically, the government is requesting all database contents "relating to Microsoft operating system product license terms, royalty start and end dates, number of units shipped, royalties paid, MDA or other discount levels or discounts earned or credited sales forecasts, actual revenue received, minimum commitments, sales, or costs." The government listed three databases by name, including "MS Sales," "OEM Query," and "Datamart."

The government's brief said the information Microsoft has provided in response to the request was incomplete and unusable. "It is as if Microsoft was required to produce to plaintiffs a working car, and instead it produced a box of parts and an incomplete assembly manual," the brief argues.