MS slates DoJ's proposal - 'unjustified'

In latest filing to Judge Jackson, software giant says government's antitrust remedy is so 'vague and ambiguous' that it's 'void and unenforceable.'
Written by Lisa M. Bowman, Contributor

Microsoft on Wednesday condemned a government proposal to break it up -- while at the same time making revisions to the plan to comply with a federal judge's order.

In its final chance to dispute a Department of Justice proposal to hack it into two separate companies, Microsoft said the plan was "extreme and unjustified."

"When an injunction is so vague and ambiguous that it 'defies comprehension,' it is void and unenforceable," Microsoft told District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson in the filing submitted in US District Court in Washington, D.C.

The company also requested a year to come up with a divestiture scenario, instead of the four months the government had requested

In addition, the company tinkered with the wording of proposed restrictions on its conduct -- refusing to release internal Windows APIs -- and submitted another list of high-profile industry executives it said would testify that a breakup would irreparably damage tech companies and consumers.

Nevertheless, the company went through the government's breakup plan, making proposed changes that included substituting the word "reorganisation" for "divestiture."

"Under the government's revised proposed final judgment, Microsoft is not being 'reorganized' in any meaningful sense of that term," the filing stated. Instead, the company said the government is demanding that Microsoft "separate" its integrated operations.

On April 28, the government formally asked the judge to split Microsoft in two.

At that point, Jackson already had declared Microsoft a monopoly and found that it broke antitrust laws by, among other things, illegally tying its Web browser to the Windows operating system and striking exclusive deals to thwart competition.

At a hearing on remedies last week, the judge asked the DoJ and the 17 state attorneys general involved in the case to submit a revised copy of its remedy proposal -- a move that indicates the judge is leaning heavily toward a breakup.

The DoJ filed that copy last Friday, making a few minor changes and clearing up some typographical errors, and the judge gave Microsoft until Wednesday to respond to the document.

To Part II Quibbling with conduct remedies

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