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Judge Rejects Microsoft Dismissal Motion

The federal judge in charge of the Microsoft Corp. antitrust case Wednesday waved aside a motion by the software maker to dismiss the case.

Microsoft had argued that the nine states, which refused to sign onto the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) settlement with the software giant last November, lack the standing to seek a remedy in federal court. Specifically, the company said the states could not prove the company had done specific harm to their citizens, and did not have the authority to request remedies that would apply to the entire nation and not just the individual states -- which include California, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Utah and West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.

But U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly dismissed Microsoft's arguments, saying the U.S. Court of Appeals' decision last year to send the case to her court had already settled whether the states have standing in the case. Additionally, she took issue with Microsoft's argument that the states' decision to continue prosecuting the case despite a settlement with the DOJ and nine other states undermined the federal government's authority in setting antitrust policy.

She also took the company to task for quoting cases out of context, noting that it "quotes selectively from a number of cases with the effect of mischaracterizing their holdings."

Microsoft still has two motions pending before the court: one asks Kollar-Kotelly to dismiss the case due to lack of evidence, while the other would bar the most sweeping of the states' proposed remedies, which would require the company to offer a modular version of its Windows operating system.

Kollar-Kotelly's decision to reject Microsoft's motion to dismiss the case helps clear the way for closing arguments on June 19. She is expected to make a ruling on the case in late summer. She has yet to approve the DOJ's settlement with the company.