The judge at the centre of the antitrust case brought by nine US states against Microsoft said yesterday that a legal precedent existed for sanctions to be imposed on the Redmond giant.
But US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly also pressed both parties hard on the case for and against sanctions and how far reaching they should be.
She also hinted that the areas covered could include network servers and PDAs, and whether the Windows operating system should be more interoperable with rival middleware products.
The nine states are seeking tougher sanctions against Microsoft to promote competition and curtail any anti-competitive behaviour.
But Judge Kollar-Kotelly pushed them hard for a reason, especially on the issue of removable middleware.
Steve Kuney, the states' attorney, argued that taking out Microsoft code was the fairest way to revive competition. "To us it is an un-remedied ongoing violation," he said.
The co-mingling of code is an area that Microsoft was asked to address.
The judge also wanted to know what provisions the states had made for middleware makers whose technology would not work with a new, more open version of Windows.
She said that a legal precedent existed to place sanctions on Microsoft, so long as they targeted the misdemeanours in the same category as those in the court rulings against the company.
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