PublishedOctober 3, 2000

MICROSOFT PROPOSES TILTED PLAYING FIELD, SAYS CCIA PRESIDENT

Washington, DC- Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) President and CEO Ed Black today sharply criticized Microsoft’s request that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia throw out its usual rules as “one more attempt to obtain an unfair advantage.”

Microsoft has asked the court to grant it nearly six months to file its final brief, which puts the deadline past the Clinton Administration’s departure from office. While Microsoft may hope that the next administration will be more favorable to its position, it should not be permitted to game the process by delaying resolution until that date.

Additionally, Microsoft wants permission to file a “brief” that would run four times the usually permitted length, to some 56,000 words. Amici curiae, or interested parties wishing to file “friend of the court” briefs, are limited by court rules to 7,000 words. Such briefs are often highly valuable to the court, but at such a limited length, amici could not compete with Microsoft’s full argument. As an example, CCIA’s amicus brief, submitted at the trial level, was praised by presiding judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who suggested that the government consider our proposed remedy.

Finally, oral argument, usually limited to 15 or 30 minutes even in capital cases, would be expanded to three hours under Microsoft’s proposal. This is an unprecedented request in an area of law that has been litigated for nearly a century, and would further limit the impact of amici briefs. “This is another example of Microsoft seeking special treatment. The court is more than capable of assessing anti-trust issues with standard oral arguments,” continued Black.

The Justice Department has also reacted strongly to this Microsoft’s motion to inordinately delay resolution of this important case. CCIA joins the Department in calling for a prompt and fair resolution of the case, and for a level playing field for all interested parties.

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