Plaintiffs in the current Iowa antitrust trial against Microsoft told the court yesterday that it is in possession of certain materials, obtained in part in discovery in that case, that they believe is evidence of Microsoft failing to disclose APIs (application programming interfaces) to competitors in violation of the 2002 Final Judgment [PDF] in United States v. Microsoft.
Because there is a protective order in this case, in order to inform the Department of Justice about the evidence, they needed to bring a motion to get the court's permission to let the authorities know about Microsoft’s alleged failure to comply fully. The court granted [PDF] the Plaintiffs' motion, which by my reading gives the Plaintiffs' attorneys and expert witnesses, like Ronald Alepin, the right to inform the Department of Justice that it has certain materials that may be relevant regarding Microsoft non-compliance. If the Department of Justice then requests the information or subpoenas it, they are now free to reveal all such information.
Here's the latest Joint Status Report on Microsoft’s Compliance with the Final Judgments [PDF], which as usual documents the difficulty in getting Microsoft to write documentation, with Microsoft alleging that the new schedule, which dragged out the proceess, may need to be adjusted again if Microsoft finds it can't meet the new schedule either. In the document, you find this paragraph:
Since the prior full Status Report, filed on May 12, 2006, 25 third-party complaints have been received by the United States. All of the complaints were non-substantive and did not raise any issues regarding Microsoft's compliance with, or the United States' enforcement of, the Final Judgment. Each of the non-substantive complaints received a simple response acknowledging their receipt. The New York and California Groups do not believe that they have received any additional substantive complaints since the prior full Status Report.
Well, they've got a substantive complaint on their desks now, or they will if they ask to see the evidence compiled by the Plaintiffs in Comes v. Microsoft.
IN THE IOWA DISTRICT COURT FOR POLK COUNTY
JOE COMES et al,
POLK COUNTY CASE NO. CL 82311
RULING AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFFS'
MOTION TO MODIFY THE
This matter comes before the Court upon the motion of the Plaintiffs to modify the protective order in this case for the limited purpose of disclosing certain findings concerning the Defendant's alleged non-compliance with a judgment and order entered in another case involving the Defendant.
The Court finds that the Plaintiffs and its expert witnesses may contact the appropriate authorities responsible for the enforcement and compliance of any orders, judgments or decrees in the other judicial matter concerning the Defendant and inform such authorities that it is in possession of information that may be relevant to such enforcement and compliance. The Plaintiffs and its expert witnesses may then reveal the information it has only to the appropriate enforcement and compliance authorities and only upon request of said authorities or in compliance with a court order or subpoena. The Plaintiffs and its expert witnesses shall not reveal the information to anyh other persons or entities.
Dated this 15th day of January 2007.
SCOTT D. ROSENBERG, JUDGE
Fifth Judicial District of Iowa