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SJ Mercury: Looking for wisdom and hints of outcome in Microsoft's antitrust appeal

Feb 28, 2001, 16:42 (18 Talkback[s])

"Legal scholars always caution against reading too much into appellate judges' questions. But what were we to make of it when Harry Edwards, chief judge of the appeals court, told the government attorney to assume that software markets tend to create monopolies. If so, he asked, was this antitrust case all about protecting a wannabe monopoly so it can replace the current one? After all, he said, citing evidence from both sides in the case, technology markets gravitate toward standards."

"Was Douglas Ginsburg telegraphing anything when he referred to Microsoft's "carpet-bombing" of Netscape during the browser war? Did A. Raymond Randolph, who was in the majority of a three-judge panel that backed Microsoft in an earlier, related case, just want to rule outright for Microsoft and go home?"

"The judges didn't let Microsoft's lawyer, Richard Urowsky, off the hook with softballs. They did sound more inclined to accept his answers, which at times bordered on the absurd, as when he maintained the knee-slapping fiction that Microsoft doesn't enjoy a monopoly. Urowsky... made more than one pair of eyes go wide when he claimed that PC makers aren't the software company's real customers, that the people who buy the computers are the real customers. ... Actually, Microsoft specifically denies that you and I are its customers in other courtrooms. As it defends itself against antitrust suits filed by plaintiff's attorneys who want to carve a hunk of flesh from the biggest shark in the sea, the company is claiming that only the PC makers have the standing to sue, because they're the real customers."

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