New Trial Judge Named For Microsoft's Antitrust Trial

The tick-tock of the clock has come back knocking on Microsoftis door as a new trial judge was named to the software monopolyis antitrust trial. The Court of Appeals District of Columbia has randomly selected U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to be the overseer of the next phase of the trial. That phase include rehearing the issue of whether or not Microsoft illegally tied together its Internet Explorer browser within Windows, as well as deciding a new remedy for the company which was confirmed as an abusive monopoly by the appellate court.

ZDNet is reporting that judge Kollar-Kotelly does not have a strong hi-tech background, but does have a very strong legal history. Judge Kollar-Kotelly was appointed by the Clinton administration to her current bench in 1997.

"These guys have lost a major lawsuit at the trial level and had it upheld by a unanimous Court of Appeals panel," said Rich Gray, a Silicon Valley-based lawyer closely watching the trial. "Although they certainly were right in thinking they wanted to get out of Judge Jacksonis court, thatis the baggage theyire going to be carrying no matter whose court they walk into. And thatis heavy baggage."

For its part, Microsoft continues to publicly cling to the idea that their forward course has been cleared somewhat by the same appellate ruling that is landing them back in court to begin with. From the same ZDNet article:

"Weire proceeding with a case that was significantly narrowed by the Court of Appeals ruling in June," said Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler. Besides throwing out the earlier remedy, "the Court of Appeals rejected many of the judgeis findings." Desler also emphasized Microsoftis willingness "to address the remaining issues through settlement."

The case has not really been narrowed all that much, and Microsoft still faces a remedy that could include breaking the company into pieces. Microsoft is currently in a race to get Windows XP released before the DoJ can get an injunction against the product. The company was originally supposed to release the OS on October 25th, but has moved that up to September 24th for PC vendors in an attempt to head off an injunction. It is not yet known whether or not the DoJ will seek that injunction, but it has said that dealing with Windows XP would be a part of the ongoing remedy.

There is more information in the ZDNet article, and we recommend it as a good read.