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US files MS antitrust brief

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The US government has filed its rebuttal to Microsoft's November brief seeking an appeal of Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's intolerable antitrust ruling. In it the government, predictably, contradicts most of Redmond's equally predictable complaints.

For one, the government flatly denies one of Microsoft's most crucial assertions, specifically that Judge Jackson "whopped them upside the head" at trial, and that he has shown equally unconscionable bias against the company in subsequent public comments.

The US maintains that it isn't really necessary for a judge to be a doll-eyed Microsoft evangelist in order to run a trial fairly. His colourful comments, therefore, "provide no grounds for inferring bias or partiality," the DoJ says.

The 188-page brief reaffirms in detail the government's contentions that MS has monopolies in both the browser and OS markets; that its dealings with Netscape were despicable; and that Judge Jackson's findings of law are indeed valid and unassailable in spite of much company legal and PR screed to the contrary.

Many are wondering if the appeal will get fair treatment in court once the DoJ reins are handed over to Prez-elect Dubya's controversial pick for US Attorney General, John Ashcroft.

Undoubtedly Ashcroft, who will ultimately be responsible for pressing the government's case at trial, is going to be grilled on it during his confirmation hearing with the US Senate, scheduled for Tuesday. ®

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