States ask Microsoft judge for access to Windows code
WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 — The state attorneys general still pursuing the antitrust case against Microsoft Corp. have asked a federal judge to force the company to show them the inner workings of its flagship product.
THE STATES SAID they need to see the source code of its monopoly Windows operating system so they can verify the company’s claim that it is not technically feasible for the company to offer a stripped-down version of Windows.
The motion was filed with U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on Tuesday and first made available Wednesday.
“Microsoft cannot base its defense on the design of its source code and simultaneously deny the litigating states the opportunity to test those arguments by interrogating the code,” the states said in their filing.
As part of their proposed sanctions against Microsoft, the states have told Kollar-Kotelly that she should order the company to offer a stripped-down version of Windows.
“This is the equivalent of demanding of Coke that they turn over the formula,” said Andrew Gavil, a professor of antitrust law at Howard University. “This is exactly what Microsoft wanted to avoid.”
In Tuesday’s motion, the states also asked the judge to appoint a technical expert to help provide “impartial opinions on the complex, highly technical issues raised by the parties ....”
Microsoft has already rejected both of the requests when approached directly by the states, they said in their legal filing.
Microsoft reached a deal with the Justice Department in November to settle the long-running case. Nine of the 18 states in the lawsuit agreed to sign on to the deal, but nine others are pressing ahead and asking the judge to impose stricter sanctions.
"we can't make a slimmed-down version of windows"