Calling Judge Thomas Jackson's decision against it last week "in error," Microsoft Corporation appealed today, though it will comply with the ruling during the appeal. Microsoft feels it was wrong for the court to impose a preliminary injunction after denying the Justice Department's petition to hold Microsoft in contempt of its 1995 consent decree.
"The matter before the court was whether Microsoft could be held in contempt for violating a consent decree entered in 1995. The court denied the Justice Department's petition for contempt; the case should have ended there. But on its own initiative, the court proceeded to treat the matter as a tying case and, without giving Microsoft notice or an opportunity to defend itself, issued a preliminary injunction," said William H. Neukom, Microsoft's senior VP for law and corporate affairs. "The government could have brought a tying case but chose instead to file a petition seeking an order of contempt. It is inappropriate for the court to unilaterally expand the case beyond the scope of the government's petition."
Neukom said Microsoft is appealing because the order sets a dangerous precedent.
"This preliminary injunction threatens every American technology company's right to innovate and define what goes into its products. The ruling puts the government into the middle of complex product design issues in an industry that for more than 20 years has experienced incredible growth, innovation and competition--without government intervention."
In a press release, Microsoft says that "a number of Windows 95 functions, as well as third-party applications, are dependent on Internet Explorer technologies. These technologies provide operating system services that are important both to the operation of Windows 95 itself and to the operation of products created by other software publishers, such as the ability to display information in HTML...Windows 95 would be lacking if it did not provide these system services to enable software developers to create new applications.