The trade association for the US software industry weighed in against Microsoft yesterday, backing the US government's claim that the software giant has a monopoly hold on its market.
The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) describes itself as the world's largest trade organisation and its board of directors includes representatives from Sun Microsystems, Netscape/America Online (AOL), Oracle, McGraw-Hill, Nasdaq, Dow Jones and, ironically, Microsoft's chief operating officer, Bob Herbold.
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) alleges that Microsoft holds a monopoly position in the desktop operating system and software market, something that Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson said the company is guilty of in his so-called Findings of Fact last November.
SIIA president Ken Wasch filed a court briefing on behalf of the DoJ's case to the US District Court of Columbia after a secret vote of the SIIA board of directors achieved a majority consensus in favour of this action.
"The SIIA submits that this court should conclude that the anti-competitive practices described in the Findings constitute illegal monopolisation and attempted monopolisation in violation of the anti-trust law. Any other disposition would effectively nullify the legal protection of competition in an industry that relies on competitive innovation for its growth and vitality," said the filing.
"We acknowledge that a successful company such as Microsoft can lawfully obtain and retain a large market share, and can compete vigorously to the detriment of smaller rivals. The anti-trust laws have established limits on permissible conduct by a company with monopoly power, however, and Microsoft has flagrantly exceeded those limits," it added.
The filing said it is impossible to measure how great is the loss of innovation caused by what it alleges is Microsoft's abuse of its market position.
The SIIA also said there is little chance of Linux displacing Microsoft from any share of the desktop market, even if Microsoft is prevented from hindering the market development of the open source operating system.
The group also dismissed Microsoft's recent contention that the AOL/Time Warner merger is an example of market competition. The merger shifts AOL's focus towards entertainment, said the SIIA, and the company will pose no threat to Microsoft in the operating system or software markets.
Meanwhile, Microsoft also filed its own final written response to the court, stating that its protection of the Windows operating system is perfectly legal under copyright law. This follows an earlier response to the court's findings on 18 January when Microsoft said the evidence against it does not show a violation of anti-trust laws.
Unless a settlement is reached in ongoing out-of-court talks, both sides will reappear before Judge Jackson for his conclusion sometime in the spring of this year. Having found Microsoft guilty of being a monopoly, Jackson will give his verdict on whether Microsoft abused that power, which would contravene US anti-trust law.
Three other filings were made to the court. One representing the 19 US States involved in the case, one by Microsoft supporter ACT and a third by Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig, who has been heavily involved in the case.
The full filings from Microsoft and the SIIA can be found below.
Dubbed Antlia 2, the ghost galaxy sits just 130,000 light-years away from the Milky Way
Delays to the roll-out of age verification for adult websites hasn't stopped government from considering extending them to more websites
Bluehole confirms rumours that Playstation 4 port is coming on 7 December
Atmospheric iodine works as a significant sink of tropospheric ozone, nullifying the harmful pollutant