The Active Network


Microsoft Defense Seeks Gov't Files

By MICHAEL J. MARTINEZ, AP Business Writer

SEATTLE (AP) - Microsoft plans to ask for authority to seek government records and subpoena witnesses to support its argument that breaking the company in two would be going too far, a company spokesman said today.

Jim Cullinan said he expects a long discovery process to find out how the Justice Department came up with its ``Draconian and overbearing'' proposal.

The company is scheduled to file its response to the agency's proposed remedy in the antitrust case with U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson on May 10.

Microsoft's general counsel, William Neukom, told The New York Times on Monday that the effort could last ``well into the fall.''

Government officials say Microsoft is stalling, possibly to delay a ruling on a remedy until the next presidential administration takes office.

In theory, a new administration could settle or drop the federal case at any time. But the parallel case brought by 19 state attorneys general who are the Justice Department's partners in the case would remain active, and the attorneys general have repeatedly said they will persevere.

The Justice Department and 17 of the attorneys general filed their proposal on Friday to split the company in two, with one company holding the Windows operating system and the other producing Microsoft's application programs.

The judge is not bound to accept Microsoft's request. He has said he wants to complete the remedy phase quickly. Microsoft made a similar request for months of delay to prepare for the opening of the trial two years ago, and Jackson rejected it.

Microsoft argues that the government's breakup proposal will make it far more difficult, if not impossible, for the company to develop innovative products that result from putting together a wide range of software technologies.


  *   *