Microsoft Denies Settlement Reports

The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post published similar reports on Thursday, citing anonymous sources saying essentially the same thing: The two sides are moving closer to an agreement that could restrict how Microsoft does business but that would not break up the company.

"When the reports say, 'sources close to the case,' then unfortunately the sources don't have to stand behind what they say," says Jim Cullinan, the Microsoft spokesperson.

"It's not Microsoft," Cullinan says regarding the source of the anonymous information. He adds that "Microsoft has been very consistent" in having its legal team not share details of the negotiation process, which is being conducted through a court-appointed mediator.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice, which is pursuing the antitrust action on behalf of the U.S. and 19 states, declined comment on the mediation discussions.

Looking for an Agreement?

Microsoft and the Department of Justice are in talks mediated by Richard Posner, chief judge of the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago. The government reportedly has pushed for a breakup of Microsoft into several smaller companies. Microsoft officials have said they oppose that remedy.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who is hearing the antitrust case, urged the parties to try to work out a settlement. He is said to be close to issuing his final ruling. Jackson ruled last November in findings of fact that Microsoft is a monopoly and has used that power to squelch competition and extend its reach into the Internet browser market.

The government also charges that Microsoft engaged in anticompetitive business practices in violation of U.S. antitrust law. Although Jackson agrees that Microsoft is a monopoly and has abused that power, he has not yet ruled on whether Microsoft is violating antitrust law. It is not illegal in the U.S. for a company to be a monopoly; what is illegal is using monopoly power to stomp the competition.

A settlement before Jackson issues his final ruling would ostensibly end the federal case, although Microsoft faces dozens of civil cases that were filed following the judge's findings of fact. Also, Jackson must approve any settlement.

The recent reports of a settlement suggested that a likely arrangement will avoid breaking up Microsoft. But the Post article also notes dissension in "the government camp" about whether mediation talks can produce a settlement that fixes the damage the government contends Microsoft has done. The Journal says some on the plaintiff side suspect that recent overtures by Microsoft are meant to make the company seem as if it has acted reasonably.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Weil

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?