Microsoft vs. DoJ: Round 2 Begins in Appeals Court
- By Scott Bekker
- November 28, 2000
With a claim that “the entire proceeding was infected with
error,” Microsoft Corp.
appellate brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals in an attempt to overturn U.S.
District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson’s ruling that the company engaged
in monopolistic practices and his order to split the software giant into two
Monday’s filing from Microsoft calls on the appeals court to
overturn the lower court’s ruling based on Microsoft’s opinion that the
district court displayed a “clear misunderstanding of the antitrust laws.”
Microsoft’s brief goes on in detail to describe, point by point, the ways in
which the lower court was in error, in the company’s estimation.
The brief especially takes aim at Jackson, claiming that his
public comments to the press during and after the trial “violated the Code of
Conduct for United States Judges.”
“By repeatedly commenting on the merits of the case in the
press, the district judge has cast himself in the public’s eye as a participant
in the controversy, thereby compromising the appearance of impartiality, if not
demonstrating actual bias against Microsoft,” the brief reads.
While Microsoft objected to all the points of the lower
court’s ruling, the company objected most harshly to the remedy imposed by
Jackson, as well as to the pre-trial and trial proceedings. The company called
the district court’s handling of the trial “highly unusual and prejudicial to
“Time and again, the district court changed the rules of the
game – and always to Microsoft’s detriment,” said the Microsoft brief.
Microsoft claims that the court applied double standards in looking at
precedent, failed to provide Microsoft with adequate opportunity to prepare for
and defend against a “dramatically expanded case,” and created an environment
in which “reliance on hearsay was inevitable.”
Microsoft’s strongest reaction was to the remedy imposed by
Jackson in the district court’s ruling. Microsoft claimed that the court used
“inadmissible evidence” and argued that the court refused to hold evidentiary
hearings during the remedy phase of the initial trial. Microsoft also once
again claimed that hearsay was employed.
“Leaving aside the fact that Microsoft’s continued belief
that its conduct was lawful is not grounds for any relief, much less breaking
up the company, the only conceivable basis for the district court’s statement
is hearsay submitted by plaintiffs,” the brief says.
Ultimately, Microsoft’s appeal calls for the reversal of
Jackson’s original ruling and, barring that, a complete retrial in district
court. – Isaac Slepner
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.