Microsoft: End of Netscape should end antitrust action

Microsoft cited Netscape Navigator, the browser that was dropped by AOL at the end of December, as an example of why most provisions of the 2002 antitrust settlement should be effectively dropped. The Microsoft memorandum was filed in federal court on the same day AOL announced plans to discontinue development of Netscape as of 1 February.

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Microsoft cited Netscape Navigator, the browser that was dropped by AOL at the end of December, as an example of why most provisions of the 2002 antitrust settlement should be effectively dropped. The Microsoft memorandum was filed in federal court on the same day AOL announced plans to discontinue development of Netscape as of 1 February.

Microsoft also accused the states that want a federal judge to extend her antitrust oversight of shooting legal blanks, according to court filings made a week ago.

In the memorandum, Microsoft dismissed claims made earlier in December by 10 states and the District of Columbia as bottom-of-the-barrel legal scrapings. "In the absence of any real-world support, movants are forced to rely solely on hypothetical examples and unsubstantiated facts," Microsoft said. "Quite simply, the movants have no basis on which to carry their burden for the extraordinary remedy that they are seeking from this court."

The states have argued since October that Microsoft should be monitored another five years, and they have asked District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to extend all provisions of the 2002 settlement until November 2012. Microsoft has contested the extension request. The December 28 memo was its response to a brief filed by the states - led by New York and California - that Kollar-Kotelly asked them to submit prior to her ruling, which she will make before the end of this month.

Key parts of the agreement that Microsoft struck with the US Department of Justice and 20 states back in 2002 were originally scheduled to expire on November 12. But in late October, Kollar-Kotelly bumped back the expiration date to January 31, 2008, saying that more time was needed for the parties to file briefs and for her to reach a decision.

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