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The Register: Battle rages over blame for MS talks failure

Apr 03, 2000, 14:42 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Lettice)

"The collapse of the Microsoft mediation talks over the weekend has rapidly turned into a major whodunnit. Microsoft, splits in the government camp, even saboteurs from the states have all been blamed, and the stories are already being spun in several directions."

"Anonymous sources speaking to AP yesterday claimed that the talks failed because Microsoft was determined to push through its own proposal, and rejecting the government one. These sources also insist that the talks didn't collapse because of splits between the DoJ and the states, so they're clearly spinning from somewhere in the government camp. Meanwhile, on the record in several places we have Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal, insisting that the differences between the DoJ and the states were minimal compared to those between the government and Microsoft."

"So the spinning so far indicates that it was Microsoft intransigence that sank the talks. But how true is that? An interesting piece by Joel Brinkley in today's New York Times pitches it rather differently: "Over the weekend, an official allied with the states complained that the Justice Department had been trying to ram through an inadequate settlement proposal without bothering to involve them. But a lawyer who was close to the talks had a different point of view, saying the states were 'trying to snatch credit for sinking the talks' in part because 'they're tired of being in the back seat.'""

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