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June 20th, 2000

[12:00 PM] Judge Jackson Sends Microsoft Appeal Straight To Supreme Court
by Wes George

US District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson stayed his ruling in the Microsoft antitrust case yesterday. Included in the provisions suspended were "interim remedies" to be applied to Microsoft's monopolistic business practices during the company's appeal to a higher court.

According to the Wall Street Journal this is a huge setback for those seeking relief from the software giant's ham fisted ways.

"The move means that Microsoft doesn't have to abide by Judge Jackson's earlier order imposing sweeping business restrictions until appeals are exhausted, possibly in a year or more. Microsoft foes fear that unless the courts act quickly, the company could have time to consolidate its market power and extend it into new Internet markets --precisely what the case sought to prevent."

Judge Jackson also certified the case for direct review by the Supreme Court using a law designed to fast track cases to the high court when it is "of general public importance to the administration of Justice."

Microsoft which claimed its new Internet strategy designed to dominate all aspects of e-commerce would be stopped by the interim remedies imposed by the court is now free to roll out the company's Internet scheme later this week.

George Cary, an antitrust lawyer with Cleary, Gottleib and a former Federal Trade Commission official told the Wall Street Journal: "This is bad for the rest of the industry. It means there is no protection from Microsoft's anti-competitive conduct while the appeal is pending."

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals, which had jumped at the chance to hear the case, now says that it would stand down if the Supreme Court is going to second guess their decision by hearing the case once more after the lower court's decision.

If the Supreme Court decides to hear the case, the first filings could begin by mid-August.

The Mac Observer Spin: Judge Jackson is a reasonable negotiator, unlike the egotistic clowns that run Microsoft. By suspending his ruling against Microsoft in deference to the high court he has once again demonstrated his great patience and willingness to compromise. Judge Jackson's fair-handed gesture stands in dramatic contrast to the deceitful petulance of the Microsoft leadership. We hope that justice will be served in the end.


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