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Microsoft loses in bid to delay antitrust case

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WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Monday denied Microsoft's request to delay the company's historic antitrust case by four months, holding to the current schedule that calls for a trial in March.

Before lawyers for the company had a chance to plead their case, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said she had no intention of giving Microsoft as much time as it desired. Microsoft has said in the face of broad penalties requested by the nine states — including Utah — that the company doesn't have enough time to prepare its case.

"The court put in place an intensive and expedited schedule," Kollar-Kotelly said. "Certainly no one can claim that they lack resources."

Microsoft's lawyers also complained that some of the competitors the states plan to call as witnesses aren't cooperating with the software giant. Dan K. Webb, Microsoft's lead attorney, said of 24 third-parties served with subpoenas, only six have responded at all.

"I need a good hunk of these documents before I do depositions," Webb said.

Boies represented the Justice Department in the government's case against the software giant.

Kollar-Kotelly said if any Microsoft competitor refused to cooperate with Microsoft, she would bar them from testifying for the states.

The states that did not sign the settlement are Iowa, California, Connecticut, West Virginia, Utah, Minnesota, Kansas, Florida and Massachusetts.

"She didn't even throw Microsoft a bone" by giving the company a few more weeks, Lande said. He said even though it was clear that the judge made her mind up before the hearing, she decided to listen to Microsoft's argument to show she was fair to the firm.

Kollar-Kotelly's predecessor, U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, was criticized by Microsoft and an appeals court for not giving Microsoft a fair shake. Jackson's ruling, which called for a breakup of Microsoft, was thrown out by the appeals court and he was removed from the case.