Microsoft, DOJ stick to their stories

Both Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Justice were ordered last week by Judge Jackson to supply final arguments in written form and the two organizations complied today. Microsoft and the DOJ filed separate briefs with the court, with both sides sticking to their original stories: the DOJ believes that Microsoft has not complied with the court order and should be held in contempt; Microsoft believes it has complied. In fact, Microsoft's seven page brief asserts that the DOJ has been "illogical" in its requests of the software giant.

As everyone is no doubt familiar, this case centers around Microsoft's creative attempt at complying with Judge Jackson's order not to force OEMs to bundle Windows 95 and Internet Explorer. Microsoft offered OEMs three options: an earlier version of Windows 95 with no new software drivers, the current version of Windows 95 with IE bundled, or a version of Windows 95 with IE files wiped out that will not boot.

"Microsoft knew that it could have deleted a much smaller set of files in order to remove the user's ability to access and browse the Web using Internet Explorer," the DOJ wrote in its brief. "Instead, Microsoft offered OEMs only the option of removing every file in MSIE3.0EXE, knowing that this action would yield a senseless result--that the version of Windows it was offering to OEMs would not operate at all."

Microsoft says it was simply complying with the letter of the court order.

On Thursday, the two sides will have a chance to present final arguments verbally before Judge Jackson. The Judge will then rule whether Microsoft should be held in contempt of court for offering a version of Windows 95 that will not work. He will also rule whether Microsoft should be allowed to bundle Windows 95 and Internet Explorer

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