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US District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly granted permission to several business competitors and their lobbying arms to put their objections to the MS/DoJ proposed antitrust settlement on the record, though many will receive mere ten-minute slots.

The dissenting states will of course be granted larger hunks of the Court's valuable time. They are also participating in a separate action against the Redmond behemoth to commence mid-month.

The dissenting voices will receive a small fraction of the time allocated for arguments, whereas the happy trio of Microsoft, the DoJ and the compliant states will receive the bulk of the Court's attention.

A revised MS proposal was accepted by DoJ Thursday, where the company deleted a provision to which OEMs had objected on grounds that it would make asserting patent rights against MS difficult if not impossible. The revisions were calculated to offer the smallest concessions possible while increasing the chance that the Court will rubber-stamp the proposal.

The process here is required by the Tunney Act, which ensures that antitrust remedies are at least perfunctorily considered in light of the public interest. The parties will gather next Wednesday to persuade the judge that the settlement proposal is indeed good for all concerned. ®

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