News Releases

Senators Murray and Smith Urge Caution Over Proposed Congressional Hearing in Microsoft

Jul 25 2001

Letter to Judiciary Committee leaders expresses concern, advocates responsibility

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – In a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D- VT.) and Ranking Member, Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today urged caution against expanding ongoing negotiations with Microsoft over Windows XP. Murray was joined by Senator Gordon Smith (D-Oreg.) in expressing concern over comments made yesterday by fellow Senate colleagues who asked for Congressional interference into the pending litigation between the federal government and Microsoft.

"While we share concerns about competition in the marketplace and agree that Congress serves an important role in protecting consumers, we believe it is counterproductive for Congress to interfere in an ongoing judicial process. Rather, we are calling for a responsible and constructive approach to this important matter," Murray and Smith said in the letter.

"We believe that Congress should move cautiously in this area and that a measured approach is less likely to upset the pending discussions, and in the best interests of the industry and American consumers."

The full text of Senator Murray's letter follows.

The Honorable Patrick Leahy
Chairman, The Judiciary Committee
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510



The Honorable Orrin Hatch
Ranking Member, The Judiciary Committee
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Hatch:

We are writing to express concern about comments made by one of our colleagues yesterday on issues associated with the pending litigation between the federal government and Microsoft. We fear that such actions may unintentionally derail sensitive settlement discussions and may have an adverse impact on thousands of high-tech companies throughout the U.S. While we share the concern about competition in the marketplace and agree that Congress serves an important role in protecting consumers, we believe it is counterproductive for Congress to interfere in an ongoing judicial process. Rather, we are calling for a responsible and constructive approach to this important matter.

As you know, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia recently handed down its unanimous ruling in this landmark antitrust case that has impacted the entire high-tech industry and U.S. economy. We agree with many legal advisers that the court's ruling provides a unique opportunity to bring this protracted litigation to an end.

News reports indicate that the parties are already at the table, engaged in out-of-court settlement discussions. This is a positive development. We would all do well to avoid actions that could negatively impact those discussions; the stakes for our economy are too high.

Given the growing importance of the high-tech sector in the nation's economy, each of us has many constituents with strong opinions on the underlying issues. We believe that Congress should move cautiously in this area and that a measured approach is less likely to upset the pending discussions, and in the best interests of the industry and American consumers. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Patty Murray & Gordon Smith