Antitrust Pig Pile on Microsoft!
September is shaping up to be a lousy month for Microsoft. With the European Union scheduled to issue a crucial judgment in its antitrust case on Monday, a group of six states and the District of Columbia have asked that the terms of Microsoft’s antitrust consent decree be extended through 2012.
The decree was scheduled to expire in November, but the states argue that court oversight of the software giant should continue in light of its continued dominance in the OS and Web-browser markets. “They still have the ability to undercut the market,” Stephen Houck, the attorney representing the group, said during an antitrust compliance hearing in federal district court in the District of Columbia. “There hasn’t been enough time to fulfill the remedy [of the consent decree]. We need a continuation of remedial structures. If Microsoft practices what it preaches–and we hope it will–it will have a minimum impact on Microsoft. Microsoft’s market power remains undiminished.”
Microsoft met the states’ demand with barely restrained incredulity, surprised that the same states that complained last month that the decree was ineffective were now asking for its extension. “These are the same plaintiffs who in August issued a filing saying they didn’t like the decree,” said Rick Rule, an attorney for Microsoft. “Now they’re asking for it to be extended.”