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DoJ wants MS appeal to go straight to Supreme Court

All over by 2002?

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MS on Trial As we suggested long ago, the Microsoft case will almost certainly go straight to the Supreme Court, without a preliminary visit to Microsoft's preferred venue, the Court of Appeals. The DoJ says that "in light of the significance of the reorganisation for both Microsoft and the computer industry, the appeals process should be expedited to the maximum extent possible. Any decision to seek direct review by the Supreme Court pursuant to the Expediting Act will, of course, be made by the Solicitor General after the Final Judgment is entered and any notice of appeal is filed." This is likely to be just a formality, and Microsoft is unable to stop the bypassing of the Court of Appeals. It will be extremely hard for the Microsoft camp to find any substantive legal or technical grounds that could be used effectively on appeal. The combination of the findings of fact, the findings of law, and now the proposed remedies are close to being unassailable. There does still remain the political possibility of an attempt at political interference, probably by appointing an assistant attorney general for antitrust opposed to antitrust enforcement, but this would result in blood on the streets and unacceptable political fallout. It's a fair guess that Judge Jackson would like to enter a Final Judgment before his summer holidays - probably by July this year. It's now too late for Microsoft to do anything but appeal, since the DoJ could scarcely agree to a less stringent consent decree now that it has filed its proposal. Almost certainly, Microsoft has in effect blown its chance of a more favourable negotiated outcome as a result Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer refusing to consider a breakup. As a consequence of this announcement, we are revising our initial estimate for the splitting of Microsoft to being as early as 2002, if the Supreme Court justices accept that the case is too well-founded to be overturned - quite apart from it being far too technical for them to understand. ® Complete Register Trial coverage

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