Microsoft Judge considers post-PC evidence

Upping the ante?

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly is open to the possibility that an antitrust remedy against Microsoft Corp may extend beyond the PC to handheld devices and the like, according to reports coming out of the District of Columbia courtroom.

The judge told attorneys late Tuesday she "need[s] more factual information" about post-PC computers, "to determine whether it falls beyond the outer reaches of a remedy." Lawyers for the nine states that have not signed up to the Department of Justice-endorsed settlement took these statements as encouragement that the judge is open to broadening the remedies.

Unlike her predecessor, Thomas Penfield Jackson, Kollar-Kotelly has kept most of her opinions to herself, but some observers have read her attitude as generally reluctant to expand the scope of remedies.

When the antitrust case was first brought, it was about Microsoft leveraging its operating system monopoly to dominate the PC browser software market.

Now that the case is in its remedial phase, attorneys for the non-settling states want a remedy that will prevent Microsoft Netscaping competitors in other fields, such as interactive TV and PDAs.

Reflecting this, over the coming days, representatives of PDA software maker Palm Inc and set-top box software maker Liberate Technologies Inc are expected to testify in the hearings. Kollar-Kotelly is expected to use information about non-PC markets in deciding on suitable remedies, rather than expanding the scope of the legal allegations against Microsoft.

In a separate case, Kollar-Kotelly is trying to decide whether the settlement signed by Microsoft, the DoJ and nine other states is in the public interest as required by the Tunney Act, which regulates antitrust settlement deals.

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