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Judge sentences MS, DoJ to 24x7 settlement talks

Cruel and unusual punishment...

MS Antitrust Judge 2.0 Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has ducked the prospect of early and intensive legal sessions with the warring parties and told them to sort themselves out instead. They've been given till 2nd November to come to a settlement, and told to talk 24 hours a day, seven days a week until then.

The judge apparently reckons the case should be settled out of court, and says she sees no reason why it can't be settled. She clearly can't have been looking very hard, but no doubt she'll be seeing some of the reasons in person, in her court, if and when the settlement talks don't come up with an agreed solution.

She has not, as far as we can make out, made any orders regarding the policing of her 24x7 talks regime, so we've no idea whether any of the participants sneaking off for a sly smoke will constitute contempt of court. But if she's really serious about this she should surely be demanding that Microsoft and the DoJ submit rosters and proposed shift systems.

If the two parties do not come up with settlement proposals by 2nd November, then Kollar-Kotelly will commence hearings on 11th March to decide on Microsoft's fate. This isn't quite as soon as the DoJ's February proposal, but a lot sooner than Microsoft wanted, particularly as she seems disinclined to take the kind of narrow view of the crime sheet that Microsoft favoured. She pointed out that it is within her power to deal with both past antitrust violations and potential ones, so XP remains in the frame. ®

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