DOJ releases final remedy proposal in Microsoft antitrust case

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) delivered its final remedy proposal as scheduled on Monday, incorporating only a few of Microsoft Corporation's suggested changes. Explaining its decision to include only the most minor suggestions, the DOJ says that most of the changes would have weakened the court's ability to prevent the company from continuing to abuse its Windows monopoly. For example, it agreed to change the name of the breakup from "reorganization" to "divestiture," which is simply a matter of semantics. But it specifically noted changes suggested by Microsoft that "would create loopholes and permit Microsoft to continue to engage in anti-competitive practices like those found by the Court."

Also rejected was Microsoft's suggestion that a divested Office company not be required to submit itself to federal oversight. And Microsoft's scheduling changes were likewise turned down: The government wants Microsoft to present its breakup plan four months after the appeals process is played out, not a year. The DOJ also warned the court that Microsoft's wording was designed specifically to give it legal leeway in the future. "\[Some of\] the changes \[suggested by Microsoft\] would enable Microsoft to frustrate the purposes of the Final judgment by hampering interoperation of competing middle ware product with the operating system," the filing reads.

Ultimately, most of the changes that were accepted were small, such as typographical errors or definitions of terms. "They accepted words and commas," said Microsoft spokesperson Jim Cullinan. "We certainly have a history of the government agreeing to something and then changing it's meaning later. We certainly want to ensure the details of whatever this is are specific and avoid the ambiguity and vagueness that is rampant through this document." Microsoft has until Wednesday to respond to the filing

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