States Split on Microsoft Settlement
By Mary Guiden, Staff Writer
Nine states and the District of Columbia Tuesday (11/6) rejected the proposed settlement of an antitrust case brought against computer giant Microsoft by the U.S. Justice Department. Nine others said they would go along with the deal.
The nine dissenters were California, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Utah and West Virginia. Attorneys general from 18 states and D.C. have been in a legal battle since May 1998 with Microsoft over violations of anti-trust laws.
"Every judge who's heard the case agrees that Microsoft engaged in illegal business practices. While the settlement proposals are a step forward, they fail to provide adequate remedies for Microsoft's illegal use of its monopoly power to crush innovative technology," California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said.
State attorneys general who agreed to settle say doing so will bring increased product choices for consumers and will restore competition in the software industry.
The split means that the Justice Department will move forward with the settlement with Microsoft while the nine dissenting states pursue an antitrust lawsuit of their own.
Barbara Hadley Smith, a spokesperson for Kentucky Attorney General Ben Chandler, says there was "some discomfort" in breaking ranks with other states, "but I don't think there's any animosity or hard feelings.
Kentucky doesn't have either Microsoft or other competitors in state, so our view may be different than California or Massachusetts," she said.