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MS trial judges book themselves remedial tech class

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The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The Court of Appeals judges who'll be dealing with the Microsoft case have decided to give themselves a basic (some might say remedial) computing class before they press on with the matter in hand. An order for a hearing on the subject for the Court says quaintly that it will focus on "basic concepts underlying the fundamentals of automation."

This is apparently aimed at being computing from ground zero, and isn't intended to touch on the antitrust case issues at all. It does however suggest that the future progress of the trial - or lack of it - will be a function of how fast the Court can get up and extremely steep learning curve.

Over the past two years Judge Jackson has given a pretty good impression of having a handle on IT, so it's been all too easy to forget that quite a lot of judges still don't know which way you put the floppy in. The Appeals Court has managed to rule on tech matters and Microsoft before, when it overturned Jackson's injunction in 1998. But when it did so it questioned its own competence to decide what should and what shouldn't be integrated in Windows.

It's proposed to hold the Remedial Tech for Judges session on November 14th, with Michael Hites, CTO of Chicago's Illinois Institute of Technology, in the chair. Microsoft and the DoJ will be allowed to bring two of their own representatives apiece, but the bashful judges may hold the hearing in private. If they don't get on to 'what is a DLL?' in session one, it'll likely be a long appeal... ®

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