Notes to Financial Statements continued
On October 7, 1997, Sun Microsystems, Inc. ("Sun") brought suit against Microsoft in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Sun's complaint alleges several claims against Microsoft, all related to the parties' relationship under a March 11, 1996 Technology License and Distribution Agreement (Agreement) concerning certain Java programming language technology.
On March 24, 1998, the Court entered an order enjoining Microsoft from using the Java Compatibility logo on Internet Explorer 4.0 and the Microsoft Software Developers Kit (SDK) for Java 2.0. Microsoft has taken steps to fully comply with the order.
On November 17, 1998, the Court entered an order granting Sun's request for a preliminary injunction, holding that Sun had established a likelihood of success on its copyright infringement claims, because Microsoft's use of Sun's technology in its products was beyond the scope of the parties' license agreement. The Court ordered Microsoft to make certain changes in its products that include Sun's Java technology and to make certain changes in its Java software development tools. The Court also enjoined Microsoft from entering into any licensing agreements that were conditioned on exclusive use of Microsoft's Java Virtual Machine. Microsoft appealed that ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on December 16, 1998.
On August 23, 1999 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the November 1998 preliminary injunction and remanded the case to the District Court for further proceedings. Sun immediately filed two motions to reinstate and expand the scope of the earlier injunction on the basis of copyright infringement and unfair competition. On January 25, 2000, the Court issued rulings on the two motions, denying Sun's motion to reinstate the preliminary injunction on the basis of copyright infringement and granting, in part, Sun's motion to reinstate the preliminary injunction based on unfair competition. Microsoft is in compliance with the terms of the partially reinstated preliminary injunction and will not need to undertake any further action to comply with the terms of the injunction. No other hearing or trial dates have been set.
The parties have filed multiple summary judgment motions on the interpretation of the Agreement and on Sun's copyright and trademark infringement claims. On February 25, 2000, the Court entered an order denying both parties' motions for summary judgment as to whether the Agreement authorizes Microsoft to distribute independently developed Java Technology. On April 5, 2000, the Trial Court entered an order denying Sun's motion for summary judgment regarding the interpretation of Section 2.7(a), which sets forth certain requirements that Sun must meet when they deliver Java Technology to Microsoft. On May 9, 2000, the Court entered an order granting Microsoft's motion to dismiss Sun's copyright infringement claim and on May 25, 2000, the Court issued a tentative order granting Microsoft's motion to dismiss Sun's claim that it is entitled to liquidated damages based on the alleged improper posting of its source code by Microsoft. The Court has indicated its intention to set a hearing on the remaining motions in September 2000.
On May 18, 1998, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and a group of state Attorneys General filed two antitrust cases against Microsoft in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The DOJ complaint alleges violations of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act. The DOJ complaint seeks declaratory relief as to the violations it asserts and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief regarding: the inclusion of Internet browsing software (or other software products) as part of Windows; the terms of agreements regarding non-Microsoft Internet browsing software (or other software products); taking or threatening "action adverse" in consequence of a person's failure to license or distribute Microsoft Internet browsing software (or other software product) or distributing competing products or cooperating with the government; and restrictions on the screens, boot-up sequence, or functions of Microsoft's operating system products. The state Attorneys General allege largely the same claims and various pendent state claims. The states seek declaratory relief and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief similar to that sought by the DOJ, together with statutory penalties under the state law claims. The foregoing description is qualified in its entirety by reference to the full text of the complaints and other papers on file in those actions, case numbers 98-1232 and 98-1233.
On May 22, 1998, Judge Jackson consolidated the two actions. The judge granted Microsoft's motion for summary judgment as to the states' monopoly leverage claim and permitted the remaining claims to proceed to trial. Trial began on October 19, 1998 and ended with closing arguments on September 21, 1999. On November 5, 1999, Judge Jackson issued his Findings of Fact. On April 3, 2000 the Court entered its Conclusions of Law, determining that Microsoft "tied" Internet Explorer and Windows 95/98 in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, that Microsoft violated Section 2 of the Sherman Act by taking actions to maintain its monopoly in the desktop-PC operating system market, and that Microsoft attempted to monopolize the Internet browser market in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act. The Court also held that Microsoft did not violate Section 1 of the Sherman Act by entering into a number of contracts challenged by the government. The Court established a schedule for consideration of the remedy to be imposed in a final judgment. On April 28, 2000, the plaintiffs submitted a joint proposed remedy that included a proposed break-up of Microsoft into two companies, an operating systems company, and a company that would own all of Microsoft's other products and businesses. Microsoft submitted its proposed remedy and its proposal for further remedy proceedings on May 10, 2000. On June 7, 2000, Judge Jackson entered the government's proposed order nearly verbatim as his final judgment in the case. That judgment orders a divestiture that will create two separate companies, an "Operating Systems Business" and an "Applications Business," to be implemented one year following a final decision on appeal. It also provides for a broad range of "conduct" remedies that would have gone into effect in 90 days, absent a stay. On June 13, 2000, Microsoft appealed to the United States Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals immediately entered an order notifying the parties that the Court would hear all matters related to this appeal en banc. The government then asked Judge Jackson to enter an order certifying the case for direct appeal to the Supreme Court. On June 20, 2000, Judge Jackson certified the case for direct appeal to the Supreme Court and simultaneously granted Microsoft's request to stay the entire remedy pending final appeal. The certification divests the Court of Appeals of jurisdiction over the case until the Supreme Court decides whether or not to accept jurisdiction of the case, which is entirely discretionary. The parties have agreed to a briefing schedule on this issue, according to which Microsoft filed its Jurisdictional Statement on July 26, 2000, the government responded on August 15, 2000, and Microsoft replied on August 22, 2000. If the Supreme Court declines to accept jurisdiction, the appeal will return to the Court of Appeals. If the Supreme Court accepts jurisdiction, a schedule will be established for briefing and oral argument on the merits of our appeal.
In other ongoing investigations, the DOJ and several state Attorneys General have requested information from Microsoft concerning various issues. In addition, the European Commission has instituted proceedings in which it alleges that Microsoft has failed to disclose information that Sun claims it needs to interoperate fully with Windows 2000 clients and has engaged in discriminatory licensing of such technology. The remedies sought, though not fully defined, include mandatory disclosure of Microsoft intellectual property concerning Windows operating systems and imposition of fines. Microsoft denies the Commission's allegations and intends to contest the proceedings vigorously.
A large number of antitrust class action lawsuits have been initiated against Microsoft. These cases allege that Microsoft has competed unfairly and unlawfully monopolized alleged markets for operating systems and certain software applications and seek to recover alleged overcharges that the complaints contend Microsoft charged for these products. Microsoft believes the claims are without merit and is vigorously defending the cases.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting a non-public investigation into the Company's accounting reserve practices. Microsoft is also subject to various legal proceedings and claims that arise in the ordinary course of business.
Management currently believes that resolving these matters will not have a material adverse impact on the Company's financial position or its results of operations.
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