The attorneys general of five states that had not signed off on terms of the federal government’s antitrust settlement with Microsoft Corp. were sanguine about Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly’s remedy ruling Friday, but did not rule out the possibility of appeal.
“We think that this sets a very strong tone for enforcement,” Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said in a conference call with reporters after the judge’s opinion was released.
“This decision really is historic because it marks the first time that the states in a settlement have improved and achieved more than the federal government when we have jointly sued under the antitrust laws. We sought more and we got more,” said Richard Blumenthal, attorney general of Connecticut. “This result is better and stronger because we pursued more effective remedies, and the states can be proud of that achievement.”
Miller emphasized that any decision about an appeal will be made later, after further analysis of the ruling and discussions among attorneys general of all of the states that had not agreed to settlement terms with Microsoft. Despite that, the five officials participating in the call each praised Friday’s decision and said it included important victories for the states.
The state officials particularly praised the compliance provisions ordered by the judge, under which a dedicated compliance officer will be named to monitor Microsoft’s compliance and report to both the company’s board of directors and the state attorneys general. That compliance arrangement is an important enhancement on the initial settlement agreement, according to Miller.
Several attorneys general said they intend to continue closely monitoring Microsoft’s actions and compliance.
“You know we have plenty of fight in us,” Miller said.
“The last chapter has not been written,” Blumenthal said. “The states will remain engaged in ensuring effective enforcement.”