- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 8, 2001

The state attorneys general pursuing tougher sanctions against Microsoft Corp. proposed yesterday that the company be forced to offer a new version of its Windows operating system that comes without its other software.
The proposal filed by nine states and the District of Columbia goes further than the settlement that the Justice Department and nine states reached with Microsoft last month by offering new penalties.
The attorneys general filed the 40-page document with U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, and Microsoft is scheduled to file a response Wednesday.
"We always said we wanted a remedy that truly worked," said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, the lead attorney in the states' fight against Microsoft.
Microsoft said in a statement that the proposal by the states is extreme and that it believes the settlement brokered by the federal government represents the fairest compromise.
Consumer groups and technology companies opposing Microsoft applauded the proposal.
"Unlike the Justice Department's capitulation to Microsoft, this is a serious effort to curb the illegal monopoly conduct of the company and restore competition to the software industry," Computer and Communications Industry Association President Ed Black said.
The Justice Department declined to comment on the proposal by the states.
Microsoft closed 1.2 percent lower on the Nasdaq Stock Market yesterday, falling 82 to cents to $67.83 a share.
Microsoft was found guilty last year of abusing its operating-system monopoly. An appeals court in June upheld that the company used its monopoly to squash competitors, though the penalty hasn't been determined.
Judge Kollar-Kotelly will decide in hearings scheduled to begin next March whether the federal government's sanctions or the harsher penalties filed yesterday by the nine states and the District will stand.
"We're going to work for our relief. We will be strong advocates for this," Mr. Miller said.
Under the proposal, Microsoft must offer a version of its Windows operating system that comes without any of the company's software, like Media Player. That would address the concerns of attorneys general by letting consumers pick the software they want and giving software makers a chance to make products for the widely distributed operating system.
The states and the District also want Microsoft to make its Office software compatible with operating systems other than just Windows.
The states also have asked that Microsoft be forced to divulge the source code of its Web browser, Internet Explorer. That would allow Microsoft competitors to write programs that run on it and compete directly with the software giant.
Finally, Microsoft would have to include Java programming language, made by rival Sun Microsystems Inc., in its Windows operating system.
The penalties would remain in place for 10 years.
Mr. Miller said the proposed remedies are not an attempt to force Microsoft to offer concessions to specific opponents, like Sun, despite declarations by Microsoft that the states are negotiating for its rivals.
"We brought this case as law-enforcement officers. I deeply resent it when Microsoft impugns our motives in that way," Mr. Miller said.
The states also have asked the court to appoint a special master to oversee Microsoft's compliance with the penalties.
Next week the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to hold a hearing on the federal government's settlement proposal. The states that proposed the new, tougher sanctions yesterday are California, Florida, Utah, Iowa, Connecticut, Minnesota, Kansas, West Virginia and Massachusetts.
The District of Columbia also joined the states proposing new penalties.

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