The US government this week defended its proposed break-up of Microsoft in what essentially will be its last official statement before a federal judge holds a hearing on the software giant's punishment on 24 May.
In a filing to the court, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) blasted Microsoft's own proposed remedies, which include a willingness to stop displaying the desktop icon on its Windows operating system that leads users to its Internet Explorer web browser.
DoJ officials said: "Microsoft's proposed remedy would leave it free to continue the very practices which the evidence at trial showed and this court found to be unlawful, and would do nothing to restore competition."
The DoJ and 17 US state attorneys said Microsoft's suggestions are neither serious nor sensible. "What remedy does Microsoft propose to undo the damage to competition caused by its past illegal conduct? Nothing," they said.
The DoJ also argued that Microsoft has not shown good reason why it should not be broken in two, and accused the company of being inconsistent in its defence against the US government's case and the proposal.
The government also dismissed Microsoft's request for more time as "a transparent effort to delay the determination and implementation of a remedy for its illegal acts as long as possible".
Microsoft, which unsurprisingly does not share the DoJ's interpretation of what the judge should do, last week urged the federal court to reject the government's antitrust remedy and proposed some business practice restrictions of its own.
Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson will bring the parties before him next Wednesday to discuss antitrust remedies or develop a schedule to hear expert witnesses on the effects of the proposed plans.
Microsoft was found to have violated federal antitrust laws through anti-competitive behaviour in an historic ruling on 3 April. The company plans to appeal the ruling.
According to researcher Gartner, the DoJ's final rebuttal and Judge Jackson's ruling will not end this ongoing saga. The DoJ will continue to call for Microsoft to be broken up and the software giant will fight the proposed remedies mainly through the appeals process, said Gartner.
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