Several States Expected to Decline Antitrust Deal

At least six of the 18 US states allied against Microsoft are expected to announce today that they will not accept Microsoft's antitrust settlement. According to reports, Massachusetts will be joined by California, Wisconsin, Iowa, Connecticut, Kansas, Maryland, Florida, West Virginia and the District of Columbia in rejecting the deal unless significant last minutes changes are met. Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina, New York and Utah are expected to accept the deal, while the positions of Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan and Minnesota were unknown as of Monday night.

"The \[current\] agreement is full of loopholes and does little more than license Microsoft to crush its competition," says Massachusetts attorney general Thomas Reilly. "This was thrust on the states at the last minute, under enormous pressure, without enough time to review the details."

Representatives of some of the states met with mediator Eric Greene and a group of Microsoft lawyers Sunday night and throughout Monday, hoping to hammer out tougher language for the agreement. Microsoft would obviously like to get as many states onboard as possible and avoid a messy court fight.

According to the Wall Street Journal, representatives for the state of New York attempted to debate a separate agreement with Microsoft this weekend, but talks failed when Microsoft pulled back on some concessions it had agreed to earlier.

On Tuesday, representatives of Microsoft, the US Department of Justice (DOJ), and the states will meet with Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. The judge is expected to announce hearings with industry leaders and individuals to determine whether the proposed settlement answers their concerns. And any states that reject the deal will likely be asked to begin preparing for further litigation.

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