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Judge: Microsoft Ruling is Vulnerable

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

About the Author

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

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