Microsoft offers bribes to drop antitrust appeal

Seven out of the nine states in the US which stood out against the Microsoft-Department of Justice antitrust settlement were offered money to drop their action, the Washington Post claimed today.

Shortly after a federal judge last month approved an antitrust settlement deal between the Justice Department and Microsoft Corp., the company's top lawyer approached the California attorney general's office with a special offer, according to several people familiar with the conversations.

If California and other states that had challenged the settlement decided to appeal the judge's ruling, Microsoft would not only fight the appeal, but also would contest how much in legal costs the states were entitled to recover from the long-running litigation.

But if the nine states and the District of Columbia decided against an appeal, Microsoft would cover the states' expenses and provide an additional pot of funds for the states to help enforce the settlement deal, the sources said.

After some deliberations, California -- which had agreed to bear most of the states' legal costs to challenge the agreement -- decided to accept the offer, along with six other states and the District of Columbia. On Nov. 29, they announced that Microsoft would pay them a total of $25 million in legal fees, plus $3.6 million for technical experts and other resources to help ensure that the software giant complies with the settlement's terms

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News source: washingtonpost

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