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Appellates mull states' last stand

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Attorneys for the state of Massachusetts' today argued that the antitrust settlement between Microsoft and the Department of Justice is completely inadequate.

Tom Reilly, Massachusetts Attorney General, accused Microsoft of failing to take responsibility for its action. "Are they going to be held accountable ?" he asked the appellate court. "It is offensive that Microsoft still don't think they did anything wrong."

The state is joined by the Computer & Communications Industry Association and the Software & Information Industry Association in arguing against the settlement. Massachusetts is the last State to hold out, and along with the two trade groups, wants the settlement returned to the district circuit for stiffer remedies. But Microsoft has a good record in the appeals courts, having removed Judge Jackson (and Sporkin before him) and succeeding in getting struck down the original remedy as too severe.

And the six judges sounded pretty cool on Massachusetts' idea of a remedy, too. One Judge, Raymond Randolph, thought that stiffer penalties would harm PC manufacturers by raising support costs. The state's proposal that Internet Explorer be made open source was questioned by one judge who said that would put the code "everywhere" and another who said this rewarded Microsoft's competitors.

Presumably, Microsoft's competitors should not be rewarded for obeying the law.®

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