States' leader: Deal shows 'some progress'

Iowa's attorney general says the Microsoft settlement 'represents some progress,' but cautions that it isn't certain that the states will approve the deal.

WASHINGTON--The lead state attorney general involved in crafting the settlement of the Microsoft case said the result "represents some progress."

Tom Miller, attorney general for the state of Iowa, said there are "good things" in the settlement, but cautioned reporters not to draw any conclusions about whether the 18 states and the District of Columbia will ultimately approve the deal. However, "in respect to my colleagues, we will look at this over the next three days" before issuing a final judgment on the deal.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said the proposed settlement will be the starting point for discussions with the other states involved. Asked if the states might suggest changes to the deal, he said, "I wouldn't rule out any possibilities."

Blumenthal added that one benefit of the settlement is that it resolves key antitrust issues now, well before any result could have been achieved in court. "Time is not on our side," he said.

Earlier Friday, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly agreed to review the settlement (see article) and gave states involved in the case until Tuesday to decide if they would accept the plan.

Microsoft urged the states to do so. Company lawyer John Warden called the agreement "good for the parties, and for consumers as we fully expect the states will conclude."

Brendan Sullivan, a lawyer representing the 18 states that joined Justice in suing Microsoft for antitrust violations in 1998, said his clients needed until Tuesday to review the terms and "be sure that this is a good agreement that is enforceable."