Judge cuts off two appeals

The judge in the U.S. government's antitrust case against Microsoft has ruled that two attempts to appeal the case, including one from a consumer group, cannot move forward.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on Friday denied two motions to intervene for purposes of appeal, one from Consumers for Computing Choice (CCC), and the other from Robert E. Litan, vice president and director of the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, a liberal Washington think tank.

CCC filed the motion in December arguing that the proposed settlement between Microsoft, the U.S. Department of Justice and several states would harm consumers. CCC had argued that the settlement didn't go far enough in opening Microsoft source code to outside developers.

But Kollar-Kotelly, from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled that CCC does not have enough of a "personal stake" in the outcome of the case to warrant an appeal. A "generalized grievance shared in substantially equal measure by all or a large class of citizens" is not enough of a legal standing to appeal a federal antitrust case, she wrote.

CCC also "failed to demonstrate that its interests were not adequately represented by the parties," the judge added in her opinion. The judge used the same arguments in denying Litan his chance to appeal.

Neither Litan nor James Turner, a consumer interest lawyer who heads the CCC, was available for comment Monday morning.

The antitrust settlement, which Kollar-Kotelly approved in November, prohibits Microsoft from retaliating against computer makers or independent software makers that consider "developing, distributing, promoting, using, selling or licensing any software that competes with Microsoft Platform Software or any product or service that distributes or promotes any Non-Microsoft Middleware."

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Grant Gross

IDG News Service
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