MS ANTITRUST - Microsoft fails in Sun, Oracle subpoena bid

A US judge in California denied Microsoft's request to subpoena rivals Sun and Oracle in an order issued Wednesday.

A California judge denied Microsoft's request to subpoena rivals Sun Microsystems and Oracle in an order issued Wednesday. Microsoft was seeking access to documents from the US vendors in relation to its ongoing battle with the European Commission over whether the company has complied with a 2004 antitrust ruling.

In a six-page order, US District Court for the Northern District of California Magistrate Judge Patricia Trumbull granted motions from Sun and Oracle to quash the subpoenas and vacate the prior order that had granted Microsoft permission to serve the subpoenas.

Microsoft and the Commission have been at a stand-off since late last year when the European body ruled that Microsoft had violated the 2004 decision. The two parties are facing off in a two-day hearing beginning Thursday to debate Microsoft's compliance with the ruling. Should no progress be made, Microsoft faces maximum daily fines of US$2.4 million, backdated to mid-December, until the Commission deems it is complying with the 2004 ruling.

"Microsoft has attempted to cast the DG-Competition [the European Commission's Directorate General - Competition] as an 'adversary,'" Trumbull wrote in the order. "In the light of the nature of the European Commission, that label is incorrect. As a matter of comity, this court presumes the neutrality of both the DG-Competition and the European Commission." She also contrasted the "adversarial" nature of the US legal system with the "inquisitional" nature of the civil law system of which the European Commission is a part. In the latter, the judicial officer is more actively engaged in evidence gathering, Trumbull noted.

The judge described the subpoenas as constituting "an attempt to circumvent specific restrictions the European Commission has placed on Microsoft's right to obtain certain kinds of information." She added, "As a matter of comity, this court is unwilling to order discovery when doing so will interfere with the European Commission's orderly handling of its own enforcement proceedings."

Earlier this month, Microsoft asked the court in California and two other US courts to grant it permission to serve subpoenas on Sun, Oracle, IBM and Novell to produce all documents containing correspondence the four companies had engaged in with the Commission.

Microsoft also filed requests for subpoenas in New York and Massachusetts; those cases are still ongoing. Sun and Oracle have their headquarters in Santa Clara and Redwood Shores, California respectively, while IBM is based in Armonk, New York, and Novell is based in Waltham, Massachusetts.

The Commission's 2004 ruling found Microsoft guilty of anticompetitive behavior for not allowing its competitors' server software to fully interoperate with PCs running its Windows operating system and for bundling its Media Player software with Windows.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

China Martens

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?