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Consent Decree Could be in Trouble

The district court judge in the federal antitrust case against Microsoft gave her first concrete indication that the consent decree hashed out between Microsoft and the federal government may be in trouble.

Microsoft and the non-settling states began final arguments in the case on Wednesday. In instructions given late Tuesday, District Judge Collen Kollar-Kotelly warned both sides to get ready to answer questions about how their respective proposals could be changed to reach a compromise.

It was the first real sign that Kollar-Kotelly may not show deference to the federal government's decision to end the case. The nine non-settling states and the District of Columbia have said the agreement is too favorable to Microsoft and have argued for the release of a modular version of Windows, better third-party access to Microsoft APIs and for Internet Explorer to be made open source.

In closing arguments Wednesday, in resonse to the judge's instructions, lawyers for the states argued that access to Microsoft APIs is highest on their priority list.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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