Massachusetts, the only remaining nonsettling state in the Microsoft antitrust case, filed court documents yesterday in which the state accused the company of violating the terms of its settlement with the US government. Massachusetts is now formally asking any individuals or businesses with complaints against Microsoft to contact the state and provide information about the company's abuses. Meanwhile, Massachusetts is also seeking stronger sanctions against Microsoft, although that appeal won't be heard in court until November 2003.
"\[Massachusetts\] has not at this point determined that any complaints lack merit for decree enforcement purposes," the court filing reads. "\[The state\] will move forward on an enforcement path should its investigations identify provable violations." The state alleges that Microsoft has illegally threatened an unnamed PC maker for promoting Linux, a computer OS that competes with Microsoft Windows. Major PC makers that promote Linux in some way include Dell, IBM, and Sony. However, Massachusetts notes that the threat is only one of many complaints the state is still investigating, and the filing mentions that the state has already received numerous tips and complaints from various companies and individuals.
Massachusetts also complains in the filing that the US Department of Justice (DOJ), which engineered Microsoft's settlement, is "hampering" the state's investigation into Microsoft's alleged transgressions. Massachusetts says that the DOJ has prevented the state from participating in the various enforcement activities for which Microsoft must be held accountable as part of its settlement. "The exclusion of Massachusetts \[from these activities\] has been effective and complete," the filing reads.
Microsoft denies that it has violated the terms of its settlement. "We are complying fully with all terms of the decree and are working with the appropriate authorities to ensure that this consent decree is implemented," a company spokesperson said yesterday.