MS/DOJ -- Microsoft to seek delay in antitrust case

Microsoft will ask for additional time to develop its defense against the US Department of Justice (DoJ) proposal to split the company in two, a company spokesman said yesterday.

Microsoft will file its response to the DoJ proposal this week as scheduled, but will include a request for time to formulate a more detailed response in the antitrust case, Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan said.

"On May 10, we will make our filing," Cullinan said. "One of the parts of our filing will be a plan for the court for moving ahead."

Microsoft is compelled to seek more information to formulate a defense against the DoJ's complex proposal because of "the size of the case," Cullinan said.

"We'll lay out different proposed options, and it's up to the court to decide how it wants to move forward with the process," he added.

The DoJ filed its breakup proposal on April 28. US District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson has set a May 17 date for the DoJ to answer Microsoft, and the judge has scheduled a May 24 hearing on the case. However, several legal experts have said that Microsoft will need more time to develop its response.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has been taking its case to the American public. On Sunday, television stations began airing an advertisement featuring Microsoft president and CEO Steve Ballmer extolling the company, saying, it is "still focused on innovating, delivering value and listening to customers".

On Monday, Microsoft released a letter to its customers, shareholders and partners, saying the Government's proposals were "extreme" and send a signal that companies that are too successful will be punished.