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Breaking news: Microsoft off hook

DoJ won't pursue MS breakup or tying claim

The US Department of Justice and state attorneys-general told Microsoft today they will not seek to break the software company in two when the antitrust case returns to the US District Court in September.

The plaintiffs also announced in a DoJ press release that they won’t pursue a rehearing of the claim that the company illegally tied the Windows operating system to its Internet Explorer browser software.

Instead, they will seek an order limiting Microsoft's conduct, rather than urging the company be split into separate operating system and applications businesses as had been ordered by the District Court during an earlier phase of the case.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned the breakup order on appeal, handing it back down to the lower court for reconsideration. The DoJ has taken the lead on the antitrust case, in which 18 states are also plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs will also ask the court for time to investigate recent industry developments to evaluate whether changes in the market have made additional conduct restrictions unnecessary, according to the release.

The DoJ "is taking these steps in an effort to obtain prompt, effective and certain relief for consumers", the statement said.

The Appeals Court further ordered that Judge Jackson be removed from the case because of inappropriate public comments he made about Microsoft.

District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly was chosen by lottery to preside over the case. She has set a date of 21 September for a status conference hearing.


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