MS trial schedules slips towards 2000

And The Register opens its 'predict the result day' competition

MS on Trial The Microsoft trial will resume no earlier than 10 May, because Judge Jackson's criminal case is running longer than expected. It had been anticipated that Microsoft would be back in court around 12 April. If the judge's other case has not finished by 10 May, then the Microsoft trial will restart on the first Monday after the criminal case goes to the jury. Judge Jackson had previously allowed Microsoft to depose witnesses from Sun and AOL's Netscape Division, as well as AOL CEO Steve Case, so he is also allowing the DoJ to depose three more witnesses. No decision had been made about who these witnesses might be at press time. The judge also decided that rebuttal witness lists must be filed by 23 April. The procedure for these witnesses -- whether they will be requested to submit written testimony in advance, or not -- has not yet been decided. It is possible that the witnesses could take up to a week or so each, although some may last barely a day. Consequently, the length of the rebuttal phase is likely to be around four weeks, as we previously predicted. Some 30 days later, each side would have the opportunity to prepare findings of fact, essentially a summary of key evidence from each side's perspective. The judge would also present his own findings of fact, which would amount to a number of decisions about contentious issues. The next stage would be for both sides to present its proposed "findings of law". The final step would then be for Judge Jackson to issue his own findings of law, in effect his Opinion on the case. This would happen some weeks later, and it is hard to assess how long this would take. It would depend on the judge's schedule, the speed and the quality of his law clerks who draft the Opinion, and how detailed an Opinion he decides is necessary. The importance of the case suggests a longer Opinion rather than a shorter one. The case is not particularly complex, but it is a broad one with a considerable amount of evidence, and is therefore likely to require closer legal analysis than a case that hinged on a value judgment, for example. The judge has discretion to hold hearings about proposed remedies if he rules against Microsoft. This could take another month or so The Register's opinion is now that Judge Jackson's result will first be announced on a wire service at 11:05 EST (16:05 GMT) on 25 November 1999. Readers are invited to place their bets on The Register's Message Board. A date and time should be given, together with the name, organisation, and email address of the contestant. A modest prize, but one of singular beauty and elegance, will be offered. The closing date for bets is 10 May 1999, at 10:00 Eastern Time (15:00 BST). ® Complete Register trial coverage

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