A Washington, D.C. appeals court is set to hear oral arguments Tuesday over whether the U.S. government’s antitrust settlement with Microsoft Corp. was adequate.
Microsoft is returning to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, where it has already won a smattering of favorable rulings in the U.S. government’s case against it, to defend itself against an appeal of the settlement by the state of Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly announced in July that the state was investigating possible violations by Microsoft of the settlement agreement, including charges that it retaliated against OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) for promoting the Linux operating system.
Massachusetts has been the hold out state in the historic antitrust settlement, to which the U.S. Department of Justice, 18 states and the District of Columbia agreed in November 2002.
In September, a federal judge ordered Microsoft to pay almost US$1 million to Massachusetts to help pay for attorney fees in its ongoing investigation of the software maker. At that time, Reilly said that he was looking forward to the upcoming oral arguments in the appeal, adding that it had serious implications for competitors and consumers.
The oral arguments, set to commence at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time, will be heard before six appellate judges who are already more than familiar with the case against the software behemoth.
The U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia has removed two trial judges who ruled against Microsoft, Judge Stanley Sporkin in 1995 and Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson in 2001. However, the court also agreed in 2001 with Jackson’s opinion that the software maker abused its monopoly over the Windows operating system.
Representatives for the Redmond, Washington, company were not immediately available Tuesday morning to comment on the pending arguments.