States want Microsoft's delay-bid rejected

Nine states opposed to a proposed settlement of the Microsoft antitrust case ask a federal judge to reject the company's request for a delay in hearings on alternative sanctions.

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The nine states holding out against the proposed settlement of the landmark Microsoft antitrust case on Monday asked a federal judge to reject the software company's request to delay remedy hearings.

Earlier this month, Microsoft argued that because of the gravity of the remedy nine states are asking for, the company should get more preparation time.

But the nine states told U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Monday's filing that Microsoft's arguments were an unnecessary delay.

"This motion is little more than a recycling of Microsoft's previously rejected arguments for delay," the states said in their filing.

The states added: "It is no surprise that Microsoft would like to continue to delay the proceeding that most threatens to deprive it of the ability to engage in the practices condemned as unlawful by the Court of Appeals."

Microsoft retorted that it can hardly be accused of delay.

"We are already implementing a tough settlement that goes beyond the liability found by the Appeals Court," said Jim Desler, a company spokesman. "Any delay is the fault of the non-settling states, who have gone far beyond the legitimate scope of this remedy phase and have, in essence, launched an entirely new case against the company."

Microsoft submitted a four-page reply memorandum Monday afternoon with the federal court supporting its motion and requesting a hearing on the issue.

The Justice Department, nine of 18 states and Microsoft cut a deal last month in the antitrust case against the company. The settlement is going through a 60-day period of public comment as required by the Tunney Act.

see special coverage: Microsoft, DOJ reach settlement The remaining states--California, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Utah and West Virginia, along with the District of Columbia--decided to continue with litigation.

The dissenting states are seeking to tighten up perceived loopholes in the settlement agreement. The states are pushing to compel Microsoft to open up the source code to its Internet Explorer browser, license its Office software for competing operating systems and carry Java in Windows for 10 years, among other things.

"The states will be ready to proceed, and Microsoft can be ready, too," Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said in a statement. "We have proposed reasonable remedies, and the judge has set a reasonable schedule."

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly had scheduled remedy hearings for March 11.