Judge: Microsoft Ruling is Vulnerable
- By Scott Bekker
U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, the federal judge who ordered
the division of Microsoft Corp. in his response to antitrust allegations
brought by the U.S. Justice Department, said on Thursday he believes that
virtually everything he did in regard to the trial may be vulnerable to appeal,
according to reports published Friday in the Washington Post
Speaking at a law luncheon in Washington, Jackson said he would have
preferred not to rule for a restructuring of the company, but would have rather
seen the software market take care of the problem after a settlement with
Microsoft (www.microsoft.com). But he
felt forced into the decision by what he considered an unyielding stance in the
matter by Microsoft.
Jackson approved the case for expedited appeal by the U.S. Supreme Court,
while Microsoft petitioned to have the U.S. Court of Appeals of the District of
Columbia hear the case first. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court refused the case
and sent it back to the appellate level, where Microsoft officials believe it
will get a more comprehensive review.
During the luncheon, Jackson said he had no intention of creating any
federal regulation of the software industry. He suggested a concerted public
relations effort on Microsoft's behalf created this and other misperceptions
during the trial.
Jackson has been criticized by Microsoft attorneys for speaking to the press
while proceedings were in progress, as well as his attempts to expedite the
antitrust trial by ordering written testimony and limiting discovery. Jackson,
who told a parable implying that his attempts to curtail a lengthy antitrust
trial could make his decision vulnerable, said he couldn't begin to predict the
outcome of the appeal. - Ted Williams
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.