Judge names professional mediator to oversee Microsoft settlement talks
WASHINGTON (AP) – A federal judge appointed a professional mediator to oversee settlement talks between Microsoft and the government in the software giant’s four-year antitrust case.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly named Eric D. Green, a professor at Boston University’s law school, as the mediator in an order late Friday. Lawyers for Microsoft, the Justice Department and the 18 states suing the company agreed to have Green help them through settlement.
Kollar-Kotelly also acknowledged that lawyers for the government and Microsoft are working hard to settle the case. ”Based upon the parties’ representations, the Court is satisfied, at this point, that the parties have been diligent” in negotiations, she wrote.
The judge did not say if any progress has been made, and again reminded lawyers that she would like to see the case settled.
In addition to Green’s teaching duties, he has founded two mediation companies: JAMS/Endispute, Inc., and Resolutions, LLC.
Kollar-Kotelly has given the opposing lawyers until Nov. 2 to negotiate before beginning a trial process to decide how Microsoft should be punished for hurting competition through its business practices.
Legal experts have said they doubt a settlement will be reached, citing both the government’s decision to not seek a breakup of the company and Microsoft’s public behavior. The previous judge handling the case also forced Microsoft and the government into mediated settlement talks, which ended in failure.
On the Net: Microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com
Justice Department: http://www.usdoj.gov
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