MS/DoJ -- Judge allows more time for briefs

MS/DoJ -- Judge allows more time for briefs

Microsoft and the US Department of Justice (DoJ) are getting another chance to spar over the Goverment's proposal to break up the company.

The judge hearing the Microsoft antitrust trial last week granted the DoJ an opportunity to respond to some of the points in Microsoft's latest response to the Government's proposal to split the software company in two.

US District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson issued an order setting Monday as the deadline for the response from the DoJ and the 19 states that sued Microsoft for antitrust violations more than two years ago. The request for an opportunity to file the response came from Government attorney David Boies last week. Microsoft's latest response was supposed to be the final filing before the judge's ruling.

Boies told Jackson that some of the proposals in Microsoft's latest response, filed with the court last week, "seem to make some sense to us, and we would like to go through those in detail and to give the court our view," according to a transcript of the call provided by the court. The DoJ response would "take their points . . and try to advise the court of our agreement and why we agree to them."The transcript did not elaborate further on what points the DoJ agreed with.

The DoJ also would address points in the filing that it disagrees with, said Boies, who added that the DoJ had spoken with Microsoft attorney John Warden about the request.

Warden, who was also on the conference call, told the judge he would also like to have an opportunity to respond to whatever the Government files. He then agreed to Jackson's suggestion that Wednesday be set as the deadline for Microsoft's response.

Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan said the Government requested another chance to respond because its proposal is "vague, ambiguous and sloppily written".

Microsoft raised a number of points that were not addressed in the proposed breakup about the process the Government says should be used, Cullinan said.

The spokesman declined to speculate on what points the Government agreed with.

Microsoft's response last week repeated its criticism that the Government's proposal to break up the company is extreme and out of proportion to the judge's findings in the case.

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