Justice Dept. fights for Microsoft fine

The ongoing legal wrangling between the Dept. of Justice and Microsoft Corp. took yet another step toward actual confrontation Wednesday when lead DOJ antitrust attorney Joel Klein asked a federal judge to hold the software behemoth in “civil contempt” for intentionally hobbling the judge’s decision of earlier in the week.

Klein is seeking the much-discussed $1 million per day fine against Microsoft (whose CEO, Bill Gates, could personally pay such a fine out of his own pocket for 10 years) from U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson because Microsoft, in order to comply with Jackson’s ruling that it “separate” its Windows 95 operating system from its Internet Explorer 4.0 Web browser, has shipped either ancient versions of Windows 95 or offered computer makers the newer version with IE4 literally ripped out of it.

“Microsoft has gone from tying its products (together) to tying the hands of its vendors,” Klein said in a statement.

There was no immediate comment from Microsoft on the DOJ’s filing.

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