Microsoft & Government Both Handed Mild Set Backs In Antitrust Trial

C|Net is reporting that both Microsoft and DoJ/18 Statesi Attorneys General have been handed mild setbacks in the ongoing antitrust trial against Microsoft. Microsoft has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to reconsider its decision to uphold that Microsoftis bundling of Internet Explorer in Windows was illegal. The Appellate Court elected not to do so. From the C|Net report:

"Weire pleased that the rehearing was denied," Justice Department spokeswoman Gina Talamona said.

"Microsoft had no chance of succeeding with their motion for rehearing before the Court of Appeals," said Bob Lande, an antitrust professor with University of Baltimore School of Law. "The odds of the Court of Appeals admitting they made a mistake a month ago were infinitesimally small."

Antitrust law experts said the order means that the District Court has free rein to choose a remedy in the case. "That last sentence (of the order) suggests that the District Court has complete discretion to decide what is the right remedy," said Kevin Arquit, an attorney with the firm Clifford, Chance, Rogers & Wells. "The court of appeals was not telling the District Court that a breakup was off the table."

In a July 20 petition, Microsoft indicated it had not yet ruled out a Supreme Court appeal.

One legal expert said a Supreme Court appeal is unlikely. "It would be far-fetched for Microsoft to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court because Microsoft doesnit disagree with the law, they just disagree with the facts that both the Court of Appeals and the District Court have unanimously found to be the facts," said Arquit. "It would be pretty thin reasoning for Microsoft to think that the Supreme Court is going to dig into the record and say there is no factual basis."

At the same time, the Appellate Court denied the plaintiffsi request to waive the normal 52-day waiting period before the case was handed back down to a lower court. The DoJ and Statesi AG are seeking to have the release of Windows XP delayed, and most analysts have suggested that getting the case back in court as early as possible was necessary if they were to accomplish that task. The chances of Windows XP being delayed are now considered to be lower.

Read the full story from C|Net for more information. Itis an informative article and a good read.