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Don't delay MS breakup, government tells judge

Opens fire on Microsoft 'transparent' delaying tactics

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MS on Trial As expected the US government has urged the judge to toss Microsoft's proposed remedies out, but it is also pushing hard to have the company strung up sooner, rather than later. In a 70 page filing to the court yesterday the DoJ and states described Microsoft's request for a delay of up to six months as "a transparent effort to delay the determination and implementation of a remedy for its illegal acts as long as possible." Microsoft's recent efforts have indeed looked just a teensie bit transparent. The company wants to produce more witnesses to argue that the government's proposed remedies are extreme, wrong-headed and likely to destroy Microsoft, innovation, the US economy and the universe, not necessarily in that order. Microsoft also wants until December to carry on wriggling, if Judge Jackson does agree with the government and decides to go for a breakup. In its filing the government points out that Microsoft's violations have already been established, and that: "Liability is not in doubt, and relief should be as prompt as possible." Microsoft's argument of course is over the nature of the relief, and whether the sentence fits the crime (which it still denies, of course). One slightly puzzling aspect of the government filing, however, is that it argues that Microsoft should have been prepared for the breakup proposal, rather than coming over all shocked and stunned, because it "has known for several months about plaintiffs' interest in structural relief." But that kind of depends on how you count, and what you count, doesn't it? Breakup proposals were certainly being tossed around in the government camp months ago, but it's not clear that these ever reached the table during the aborted negotiation talks. As these were about to hit the buffers, the word was that the government was prepared not to go for a breakup in order to achieve a settlement. If the hawks from the states reintroduced this to the talks, they did so on 31st March, the day before it all fell apart. The way we count that, it's a month and bit, not several. Alternatively, further back down the line there were other breakup proposals put to Microsoft - be interesting to see what was in them. ®

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