Microsoft and Mediation Negotiations Essay

906 Words 4 Pages
Microsoft and Mediation Negotiations

Since its antitrust trial began in 1998, the software giant Microsoft and the government have met in negotiations three times; now, a fourth round of mediation has been scheduled, these to be presided over by Richard Posner, the chief judge for the 7th U.S. Circut Court of Appeals in Chicago. Although the two sides differ in opinion on many key issues, both sides have maintained that they are open to settlement. The appointment of Posner has aroused some controversy however, because some, including William Kovacic of George Washington University, say that his views on antitrust cases are not in line with the governments; that is, they do not favor the breaking up of large firms found to be
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He will retain approximately the same power over the litigants. Galanter goes on to say that the formal legal system is expanding its use of ADR, including judicial mediation. As can be seen in this case, the two forums of dispute settlement, formal and informal, are not completely separated. The formal court system has incorporated the informal method of mediation with a slight twist; the mediator is a member of the formal legal system. The fact that Posner is a judge and a member of the formal legal system is of great importance. “The principle contribution of the courts to dispute resolution is providing a background of norms and procedures against which negotiations and regulation in both private and governmental settings take place.” (Galanter, 1984) Because Posner is a part of the court system, he is in an ideal position to establish such norms and procedures; he works with them every day and is familiar with their operations and applications. His knowledge of the court system will also be integral in the negotiations as applicable to what Galanter refers to as bargaining endowments, or what each side can use to his advantage in negotiations. Posner will be able to identify the bargaining endowments of each side, because he knows what the probable outcome of formal adjudication would be, and let both Microsoft and the government use

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