Judge Assigns Mediator for Microsoft Case

After Microsoft and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) failed to reach a settlement in Microsoft's antitrust case by its Friday deadline, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly announced that Boston University's Eric Green would serve as facilitator and mediator. Noting that "the court is satisfied, at this point, that the parties have been diligent in their efforts \[to settle the case\]," Kollar-Kotelly noted that the sides now have until November 2nd to reach a settlement. Failing that, Microsoft faces remedy hearings in March.

Eric Green is a law professor and recognized expert in out of court dispute resolution. He founded two firms dedicated to this alternative form of dispute resolution, both based in the Boston area. Green's mediation attempts are the second in the Microsoft antitrust case; in early 2000, Judge Richard Posner attempted a failed mediation. Unlike Posner, however, Green's strength lies in mediation, not antitrust.

At the point, settlement is unlikely. The government would like to see Microsoft open up its source code to competitors, a fairly drastic request. Also on the drawing board, reportedly, are sanctions that would force Microsoft to open the design of its Windows products to industry oversight. Neither of these options is particularly appealing to the software giant.

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