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NPR's Morning Edition
Broadcast 27/03/2000, Story 6

The judge in the microsoft anti trust lawsuit will issue a verdict tomorrow unless the government and the company's several sooner

Judge thomas penfield jackson called the parties together and imposed a deadline last tuesday last friday microsoft responded by fax into the justice department a proposal for settling the suit judge jackson has sent strong signals that in the absence of a settlement he will find microsoft guilty of violating anti trust laws n. p. r.'s john mcchesney reports a number of published reports say that the government wasn't satisfied with the proposal microsoft's into them on friday

And that further meetings between the two parties this weekend didn't take place because differences between them remained too great judge jackson has done everything he could to bring pressure on the parties to settle and according to bill provides at george washington university law professor he could still cut the litigants some slack if they told him they had made some advances over the weekend

It's conceivable that if they're making some progress even incremental progress the judge jackson would be willing to give them a bit more time i can't imagine that the parties making a phone call to him will you give us a few more days to resolve our differences at least wait until the end of the week

The big antitrust case has come down to a game of chicken between the world's richest man bill gates and the head of the justice department's antitrust division and joel klein suit is costing microsoft money focus and bad public relations and protracted litigation with appeals following a verdict by judge jackson will cost the company even more but a positive outcome on appeal might still be worth the cost

For his part the justice department's joel klein holds a very strong hand dealt to him by judge jackson when he founded microsoft had abused its monopoly power the client also has to take into account that he may not be in office in a year

And that his successors may not vigorously pursued the case earlier reports said that klein had decided to take the ultimate step of breaking up the company but according to bill provides a client may have decided that at the end of a long appeals process the government wouldn't get a restructuring of the company anyway so client may have decided to settle for so called behavioral restrictions on microsoft

Such discharging all buyers of windows the same price instead of giving lower prices to microsoft's allies and finding some way of preventing microsoft from rolling new software like an internet browser into windows in order to crush rivals about six speculates that client may follow this reasoning

We will insist upon a break up but you got to give us the best possible package of conduct solution in part because we have to stand before a public and explain why we settled from a litigation position of the apparent decisive strength we have to have a persuasive the answer to those kinds of questions you microsoft have to give it to us

So far apparently microsoft has not come up with a set of restrictions on its future behavior that the government thinks is strong enough to sell to the public unless the two parties asked for more time judge jackson will issue its verdict on tuesday and then several weeks after that it seems likely that the two parties will argue in court about what remedy should or should not be taken to correct microsoft's behavior john mcchesney n. p. r. news san francisco

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