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WinXP ship date threatened by govt trial move?

Preliminary injunctions, anyone?

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The prospect of an injunction delaying the October launch of Windows XP drew closer on Friday, with a government request to the appeals court to send the case back to the district court early. The current status as regards Microsoft's little legal issue is that the appeals court intends to send it back to the district court anyway, but that it's currently in a waiting period in order to give both parties the opportunity to ask the appeals court to hear the case again.

Friday's motion from the DoJ and states points out that as neither party intends to do this, there's no point in waiting. But the timing could well have an effect on XP; the absolute earliest the district court could start on the case under the current schedule is mid-August. A new judge will have to get their head around the case, and we can no doubt expect many more of those entertaining procedural matters to get in the way of anything actually happening fast. So the likely maximum of two months between the restart and the WinXP rollout quite possibly wouldn't give the government time to throw a spanner in the works - if that's what it wanted to do.

Three months might not be enough either, but it's the most the government can get. The appeals court having found Microsoft largely guilty, the district court will have to re-examine appropriate remedies, and will also have to cover the tying issue again. But that's where WinXP might come in, because there we have tying writ large. IE is integrated, although there's been some slight movement there in the past week, but on top of that you've got Windows Media Player, CD burning, remote control, zip file support, online shopping, messenger, MSN, etc etc. Any more candidates? Probably.

Aside from leaving the tying issue open for further consideration, the appeals court did muse on the difficulties of applying remedies for conduct which history had made obsolete. This possibly leaves matters open for the district court to consider the now, rather than the then. It's surely impossible for the court itself to come to any conclusion prior to the XP launch, but it might be persuaded to smile on a preliminary injunction application... ®

Related stories:
MS surrenders! IE not integrated with WinXP after all
How MS is winning the court war by losing all the battles
Gartner sees civil lawsuit brewing over WinXP

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