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Microsoft's lawyers clearly operate better out of court than in. The case the company made for itself during the epic Jackson antitrust trial was, frankly, dismal, but the post-verdict delaying tactics are starting to acquire a certain baroque splendour.

It would appear we have a request for a delay while we delay, simultaneously with another delay attempt (provided we're not losing count). The Appeals Court should be deciding any time now whether or not to send the case back to the District Court with a new judge, and unless the judges have had some kind of collective brainstorm since the court last spoke, they'll send it back. Microsoft has already asked the Appeals Court to change its mind on browser-related aspects of its decision, and has asked the Supreme Court to overturn the Appeals Court's ruling.

Now it has asked the Appeals Court not to decide on whether to send the case back to the District Court or not until after the Supreme Court has decided what it's going to do about Microsoft's request for it to overturn the ruling of the Appeals Court.

And if the Appeals Court ignores this stuff and kicks it over to the District Court? Well, from where we're sitting you might just be able to count this as a victory of Microsoft, if they carry on in this vein. The lawyers could then surely start complaining and respectfully requesting to all three tiers at the same time.

Remember the days when there were moves to get the case sent directly to the Supreme Court, and government requests for the Appeals Court to send it back speedily? You don't hear much about that any more, do you? ®

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