Spitzer, States Oppose U.s. Supreme Court Review Of Microsoft's Request For An Appeal
Attorney General Spitzer, on behalf of the 19 state plaintiffs in the historic antitrust case against Microsoft, today filed a brief with the United States Supreme Court opposing Microsoft's request that the Supreme Court hear its appeal of an earlier decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals.
In its decision this past June, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's ruling that Microsoft unlawfully monopolized the PC operating system market. However, because Judge Jackson spoke to reporters about the case while it was still pending, the Court of Appeals removed Jackson from any future involvement with the case, and set aside his remedy decree. But, the Court of Appeals unanimously refused to throw out all of Judge Jackson findings, as Microsoft had requested. In a brief filed last month with the Supreme Court, Microsoft argued that the Court of Appeals erred in refusing to overturn Judge Jackson's findings, and asked the Supreme Court to hear an appeal from the lower Court's ruling.
In today's filing urging the Supreme Court to decline to hear Microsoft's appeal, the States point out that the Court of Appeals' unanimous decision was clearly correct under controlling legal principles. The States' brief also points out that both the District Court and the Court of Appeals have found that Microsoft committed serious violations of federal and state antitrust laws, which remain unremedied.
"We believe that Microsoft's attempt to further delay an appropriate remedy continues to undermine the public's interest in competition," Spitzer said. "With each succeeding version of Windows being introduced, Microsoft's products continue its monopolist position in the market and further limit consumer choice."
The States' filing argues that Microsoft uses the ubiquity of its operating system as a distribution device for additional software products, thereby extending its power to emerging complementary markets and fortifying its illegally maintained operating systems monopoly. The brief states that: "Just as Microsoft crushed competitive threats from the browser and from Java as part of its monopoly maintenance scheme, additional injury to competition may be predicted. To the extent that harm materializes, consumers will suffer until a court remedy is in place."
The Supreme Court is expected to decide whether to hear Microsoft's appeal after the Court convenes in October. The parties are scheduled to begin the next round of proceedings in the trial court on September 21.
The Supreme Court brief filed on behalf of New York and the other States was prepared by Spitzer's Solicitor General Preeta Bansal, Antitrust Bureau Chief Jay L. Himes, Richard L. Schwartz, the Antitrust Bureau's Director of Policy and Planning, and Assistant Attorney General Gary Weinstein, together with Charles M. Kagay, Special Deputy Attorney General of the State of California.