Hailing the dismissal of the temporary injunction against it as a legal precedent, Microsoft Corporation said Tuesday that it was now positive the company would prevail this Fall when an antitrust lawsuit over Windows 98 goes to court. On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals sided with Microsoft and ruled that a lower court "erred" by deciding that Internet Explorer and Windows 95 were not integrated. Heady Microsoft employees could hardly conceal their glee Tuesday night in conference calls with the press. They describe the U.S. governments case against Windows 98 as "gutted."
"This \[ruling\] provides important guidance for the Windows 98 litigation and is a decision that has far-reaching implications," said Bob Herbold, Microsoft executive VP and COO. "Today's decisions affirm our central principle of every company being able to improve its products and integrating new features on behalf of consumers."
Though the Windows 98 lawsuit if far broader than the earlier one regarding Windows 95, the DOJ has a tough road ahead of it. The case will be heard by Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, whose December decision against Microsoft was just thrown out by the Court of Appeals. Jackson will not want future judgements thrown out and he will now have to be careful to consider this judgement as he hears the Windows 98 case. Furthermore, the decision to remove the preliminary injunction was fairly critical of Jackson, as seen in some of the strong wording in the decision itself:
"We find that the district court erred procedurally in entering a preliminary injunction without notice to Microsoft and substantively in its implicit construction of the consent decree on which the preliminary injunction rested. We also grant the petition for mandamus and direct the district court to revoke or revise its reference."
A complete transcript of the Court of Appeals judgement, which is actually pretty fascinating, can be found online