Government fights Microsoft appeal

The Justice Department on Friday urged the Supreme Court to reject an appeal by Microsoft, saying there should be no further delay in imposing punishment on the computer software giant for monopolistic practices. Microsoft wants the nation’s highest court to determine whether the appeals court ruled correctly in refusing to set aside the findings of a federal judge who was later criticized for his comments about the company to the news media. A federal appeals court in the District of Columbia agreed with the judge’s finding that Microsoft engaged in an unlawful course of conduct to maintain its monopoly for personal computer operating systems. The case is now before U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who will determine what punishment Microsoft should face.

Alaska Airlines pilots have accepted a contract reached by union leaders and the Seattle-based company’s management earlier this month. The agreement provides an across-the-board pay increase of 11 percent this year, followed by increases of 5 percent in 2002 and 4 percent in 2003 and 2004. It extends the pilots’ contract by two years, through April 2005. “We think it’s a win for everybody,” said company spokesman Jack Evans.

The Food and Drug Administration has agreed to review Cialis, a new treatment for erectile dysfunction being developed through a joint venture between Bothell-based ICOS Corp. and Eli Lilly and Co. Bothell-based ICOS said its studies show men with mild to severe dysfunction may benefit from the oral drug.

Orders to U.S. factories inched up in July, led by increases in demand for automobiles and other transportation products, furniture, household appliances and communications equipment. The Commerce Department reported Friday that factory orders were up by a bigger-than-expected 0.1 percent. That followed a revised 2.9 percent drop in June, weaker than the government previously estimated. New orders so far this year are 6.8 percent below the same period last year.

Kmart Corp. has removed from its stores its “Dare to Compare” price promotions after Target Corp. filed a lawsuit accusing its rival of lying to consumers with the advertising. As a result of Kmart’s removal of the signs, Target withdrew its request for a temporary restraining order that would have required Kmart to take them down. It has not withdrawn the lawsuit, however. Target had said the signs often cited outdated or inaccurate prices from Kmart competitors in making the comparisons.

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