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June 13, 2002—In this issue:
1. NEWS AND VIEWS
- Judge: No Microsoft Case Dismissal
- IIS, IE, MSN Messenger Flaws Threaten Windows Users
- Struggling with IIS and Web Administration Concerns?
- Subscription to SQL Server Magazine!
3. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
1. NEWS AND VIEWS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])
Late yesterday, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly rejected Microsoft's argument that nine US states and the District of Columbia have no legal ground to pursue stricter antitrust remedies against the company. Microsoft had argued that the case is federal and that the states have no right to impose penalties that reach beyond their jurisdictions. However, Kollar-Kotelly noted that Microsoft based its dismissal arguments on mischaracterized and selective quotes from previous court cases and that legal precedent clearly backs the states' rights to pursue federal antitrust cases on their own, regardless of how the US government responds. Furthermore, the issue is moot, Kollar-Kotelly said, because the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which remanded the case back to the federal court last year, ruled that all parties—including the US states—had jurisdictional ties to the case.
"The Court concludes that Microsoft's motion is without merit and must be denied," Kollar-Kotelly wrote in her 35-page ruling. "The Court is loath to presume, as Microsoft does, that the Court of Appeals did not consider the jurisdictional issue of standing."
Kollar-Kotelly's ruling is rife with portentous comments, most of which were aimed squarely at Microsoft. She admonished the company for its "frivolous" and "improper" legal arguments, many of which she implied reflected a complete and utter disregard for the legal process. Microsoft, she wrote, repeatedly misunderstood that Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's original Findings of Fact and eventual ruling against the company are still legally binding. In effect, the company proceeded as if the original decision against it never took place. However, the US Court of Appeals threw out only the breakup order and some minor decisions. Judge Jackson's core decision against the company—and all of his Findings of Fact—still stand, she said, and will form the basis for determining how the company should be punished.
The nonsettling states and the District of Columbia didn't escape the judge's ire, however. Kollar-Kotelly blamed the states' lawyers for committing several procedural errors, one of which prevented them from presenting a crucial software demonstration of a modular Windows version. The demonstration probably would have helped the states' case enormously because the states' remedies include a request that the court force Microsoft to offer such a product.
But overall, Kollar-Kotelly's decision is a huge victory for the states. "Now we can almost see the finish line in this case," said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. Next week, Microsoft and the nonsettling states will present final arguments.
Microsoft admitted yesterday to three serious security vulnerabilities, one of which could let attackers seize control of Web sites that use Microsoft IIS, the company's Web server product. IIS currently runs more than one-third of all Web sites, although it owns a higher percentage of the market for corporate Web sites. Microsoft has issued a patch for this vulnerability, which affects IIS versions in Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0 but not in Windows XP.
Two other vulnerabilities affect Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) and MSN Messenger; Microsoft describes both vulnerabilities as "critical." The IE vulnerability, which the company announced last week but recently found to be more serious than initially thought, affects IE 6.0, IE 5.5, and IE 5.01, as well as Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000 and Microsoft Proxy Server 2.0. In May, Microsoft fixed the MSN Messenger vulnerability with a patch. The vulnerability, which lets attackers run programs on users' PCs, also affects MSN Chat and Exchange Messenger (available to Microsoft Exchange Server users).
End users can upgrade IE and MSN Messenger through Auto Update or Windows Update. For server-based patches, refer to the Microsoft Security Web site.
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