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Supremes turn down MS gig – Redmond appeals to Four Tops?

Nothing much happening really, but it's a comfort that MS is still guilty...

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The US Supreme Court has turned down Microsoft's bid to have it review the DC Court of Appeal's 'mainly guilty but take another shot at the sentence' ruling of 28th June. Although the Supremes didn't say anything much apart from nope, we can reasonably infer that like the Appeals Court they accept that Judge Jackson's decision that Microsoft had maintained an illegal monopoly was untainted by any bias or misconduct.

Their decision at this stage is hardly unexpected, but knocks the stuffing out of the legal arguments Microsoft's lawyers have been hammering since Jackson put on his black cap. The Appeals Court caned Jackson for blabbing to the press, and threw him off the case, but decided that despite his (in their view) deplorable conduct his verdict hadn't been tainted by bias. Microsoft however embarked on a tortuous process of arguing that even the appearance of possible bias meant that the whole thing ought to be slung out, and that the merry dance should be started again.

That will not now happen. The Appeals Court decision to send the case back to the District Court stands, so Microsoft remains guilty of monopolisation on several counts, and can expect to be hit with remedies for these. The District Court may also up the ante, if crimes against humanity subsequent to the original verdict are considered to be relevant to the matter. Unless of course the settlement talks Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered bear fruit. The omens for this however do not look good.

Still, it's probably good new for all concerned. Judge Jackson can be pleased first that his guilty continues to stand, and second that he doesn't have to go any more rounds with Shyster, Shyster and Shyster. The DoJ legal team can be pleased that they can crack on with deciding how Microsoft should be hung, and with what kind of rope. All the lawyers can be pleased, for obvious reasons. Judge Improbably Percussive-Name may or may not be pleased, but considering she told them to go away and sort it out without bothering her, we think probably not.

But Microsoft can be pleased that it's going back to court to fight a mini trial, complete with more witnesses, so it can drone and wrangle away at improbable length, and there's always the higher courts (again) if that doesn't work.

Hell Bill, as Steve no doubt frequently says, it'll probably never happen. But if this round's as good showbiz as the last, do we care if Microsoft gets hung in the end or not? ®

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