Microsoft asks Judge to throw out government case

Citing a June Appeals Court ruling, Microsoft Corporation requested on Monday that Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson throw out the government's case against it. Microsoft's primary point in the request is that Windows 98 and Internet Explorer are, in fact, integrated products, making the government charges baseless. Microsoft pointed to other operating system vendors such as Sun, IBM, Apple, and various Linux-based companies, that are also integrating Internet services into their OSes.

"We believe the central elements of the government’s claims have been refuted by the factual record and the recent Appeals Court decision upholding Microsoft’s decision to develop operating systems that work well with the Internet," said William H. Neukom, Senior VP for Law and Corporate Affairs at Microsoft. "We are asking the court to dismiss the government’s lawsuit in its entirety, but, at a minimum, we hope the court will expedite resolution of this case by dismissing many of the key claims."

Microsoft's 88-page motion for dismissal uses three main points to undermine the government’s case:

  • On June 23, 1998, the Appeals Court decided that Internet Explorer is an integrated element of the Windows.

  • The Appeals Court also ruled that the integration of these technologies into the operating system provides clear benefits to consumers and developers.

  • Neither Microsoft’s continued improvements to Windows nor any of the challenged contracts with third parties has prevented Netscape from distributing its Web browser to consumers in vast quantities.
"When you step back from all the heated rhetoric and apply well-established legal principles to the actual facts of the case, it is clear that the government will not be able to prove its case. Microsoft’s integration of Internet technologies into the operating system has been good for consumers and good for thousands of independent software companies," Neukom said. "Microsoft and Netscape have been competing vigorously, developing improved software and distributing it widely to customers. The antitrust laws encourage such competition, which benefits consumers.
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