Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Justice Department: Preliminary Injunction No Threat to Microsoft

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Justice Department: Preliminary Injunction No Threat to Microsoft

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Microsoft's request for an expedited appeal in its Internet browser battle with the government should be denied, the Justice Department said Monday, because the software giant doesn't face any imminent threat to its business.

In fact, the government argued, the way Microsoft has interpreted a judge's preliminary injunction ensures the order will have little or no impact on its business.

The Justice Department on Monday filed its response to Microsoft's bid for a speedy appeal of a federal judge's Dec. 11 order, which said the personal computer software industry leader must give computer manufacturers the option of removing its Internet Explorer browser software from the Windows 95 PC operating system. Because Microsoft so far has only given computer makers the options of using a "patently deficient" or an outdated version of Windows 95, the government said, the court order "imposes on Microsoft no significant hardship, let alone threatens serious irreparable harm that might warrant accelerating the appellate process." In the brief, the government said that the Justice Department, too, may file its own appeal of the judge's order, which refused to formally hold Microsoft in contempt of a 1995 antitrust settlement. The Justice Department Monday repeated its argument that, by "implementing trivial modifications" to Windows 95, Microsoft could let computer manufacturers remove Internet Explorer and comply with the judge's order. Microsoft says Internet Explorer is an inseparable part of Windows 95, and can't be removed from the latest version of the operating system without crippling a PC. To comply with the judge's order, the company told computer makers they could do that, if they want. Microsoft also gave manufacturers the option of using an August 1995 version of Windows 95, which doesn't depend as much on the browser, but which also doesn't incorporate many improvements made during the past two years. Those choices, the government argues, amount to no choice at all. "Microsoft's reading of the injunction ensures that it will not license (computer manufacturers) anything other than exactly what Microsoft wishes to license," the Justice Department's response brief said. …

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