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Little comfort for MS in dissenting states' memo

Illinois and Ohio haven't defected very much

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MS on Trial There's no comfort for Microsoft in the separate Memorandum by Illinois and Ohio. The two states, who dub themselves the "Supporting States", make it clear that they are fully opposed to Microsoft's anticompetitive behaviour, noting that "The record, and the Court's Findings of Fact, are replete with examples of stifled innovation, increased costs, unnecessary consumer confusion, forestalled technological advances, and thwarted competition caused by Microsoft's conduct". This is then followed by a terse review of how Microsoft had misused its monopoly power. They say that they are "reluctant to propose the imposition of structural relief before there is an opportunity to determine whether significant restrictions upon Microsoft's behavior would alone be sufficient to significantly eliminate Microsoft's anti-competitive conduct". Although this may be a case of the spirit being strong but the flesh weak, it may well be that local political considerations have influenced their decision. The consequence was that they did not join with the DoJ and the 17 other states (plus the District of Columbia) to ask the court to enter the proposed Final Judgment that would break up Microsoft. Illinois and Ohio consider that tough conduct remedies should be tried first, with the result being reviewed by the court after the appeal, or after three years. Their view is somewhat naive, although they did suggest that "the repeated, pervasive anti-competitive acts in which Microsoft has engaged for many years, and which it continues to deny, may reflect a corporate culture which would prevent Microsoft from effectively adjusting its behavior to comply in good faith with all the conduct requirements that the proposed Final Judgment imposes as a necessary remedy. Or, it may be that the monopoly is so entrenched that the changes in conduct, even if implemented as proposed, do not sufficiently address the competitive injury and provide adequate protection that allows the software industry to be fully competitive and innovative." Judge Jackson could decide that he agrees with Illinois and Ohio attorneys general, and more or less do what they request, but the DoJ's backup Declarations should dispel any concerns that there might be an economic meltdown if Microsoft were broken up. Microsoft attempted to persuade each state not to take part in the trial, scoring a victory in the case of Texas following what was believed to be pressure brought by Compaq and Dell, at Microsoft's bidding. During the trial, South Carolina dropped out, probably because it thought that in this way it would be better placed to have a large Microsoft facility set up in the state - but after it dropped out, Microsoft decided on North Carolina. ® Complete Register Trial coverage

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