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Supreme Court Refuses Microsoft Case

Microsoft Corp. won a key round today in the legal battle that threatens to divide its assets when the U.S. Supreme Court granted a motion to return the antitrust case to the federal appeals court level.

The U.S. Justice Department, seeking a quick legal resolution to what it has declared a Microsoft (www.microsoft.com) monopoly in the computer industry, had petitioned the high court to bypass the federal appellate process and consider Microsoft's appeal of District Judge Thomas Pennfield Jackson's ruling of illegal anticompetitve misconduct. In that ruling in June, Jackson ordered the software giant broken into two, pending the result of Microsoft's appeal. He then requested the appeal go directly to the Supreme Court to expedite the process. However, on Tuesday the Supreme Court voted 8-1 to refuse the case until the federal appellate court had heard it first.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told news services that he was happy to see the case go before an appeals court. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, the loan dissenting voter, felt the high court should hear the case now because speed in reaching a final decision may help create a legal certainty. - Ted Williams

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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