nine US states that have not acceded to the settlement of the antitrust case against
Microsoft have proposed their own set of remedies to the US court.
The remedies go further than the
Department of Justice’s proposals, and include forcing the software maker to offer a version of Windows that does not come bundled with any applications, and to give free and open access to the source code for its Internet Explorer Web browser.
The states said: “These proposed remedies are intended to prohibit the recurrence of the Microsoft practices that were held to be unlawful by the Court of Appeals.”
Extreme Microsoft has until Wednesday to respond to the latest proposals. It declined to comment, pending a review, but did call the filing “extreme” and “not commensurate with what is left out of the case”.
“This remedy request offers a powerful and compelling blueprint for restoring competition and stopping Microsoft’s misuse of its monopoly power,” Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal said.
The states that held out on the DOJ’s proposal – California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Florida, Kansas, Minnesota, West Virginia, and Utah, as well as the District of Columbia – have said they are not satisfied with the remedies suggested by the DOJ and are seeking harsher measures.
Java support The remedies proposed Friday would also force Microsoft to add support to its software for Sun Microsystems’ Java programming language, which Microsoft pulled from its operating system with the release of Windows XP. Microsoft would also have to license the source code for Windows indiscriminately to hardware makers as well as third-party software vendors.
“One of the central principles of our request is equal access to the operating system that has become the industry standard,” Blumenthal said.
The remedies would allow hardware makers to configure Windows PCs with applications, such as Web browsers or media players, from third-party software makers. Under that provision, Microsoft would be forced to sell its operating system to hardware makers at a lower price than the version containing its own applications.
The states also proposed a remedy that would force Microsoft to “auction to a third party the right to port Microsoft Office to competing operating systems”, such as Linux and Apple’s Mac OS. That requirement would open a key barrier to entry for operating system makers, said Dana Hayter, an attorney with Fenwick & West.
“Microsoft Office has become the standard office productivity application suite, and since so many consumers and businesses buy PCs for office productivity purposes, its absence on other operating systems amounts to a barrier to entry into the operating-systems market,” Hayter said.