Microsoft to file first written argument in appeal

Microsoft will file its first scheduled written argument in the appellate phase of its antitrust case Monday, hoping to convince the U.S. Court of Appeals that it should simply reverse the original ruling. The company was found guilty of antitrust violations earlier this year, and Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson recommended that Microsoft be split into two separate entities to prevent further violations of the law. Microsoft has already filed an opening brief in the appellate phase, in which it contended that it did not break the law and should not be split in two. Monday's filing is the first due under a schedule drawn up by the Court of Appeals.

"Our brief will outline a full and powerful argument for why the District Court's judgment should be reversed and judgment should be granted for Microsoft," said Jim Cullinan, a spokesperson for the software giant. In its first filing with the appellate court, Microsoft said that it would attack the judge's decision as well as his technical understanding of the issues. Microsoft was particularly upset that Jackson elected to discuss the case with reporters during and after the original trial.

The U.S. Court of Appeals has been friendly to Microsoft in the past, and it has even overthrown an earlier ruling that was handed down by Judge Jackson. In 1998, the court Jackson's preliminary injunction against the company was reversed by the appellate court, when it found that Internet Explorer was integrated with Windows and could therefore be shipped together in the same package. Microsoft points to this decision as proof that it did not break the law, but even the appellate court admitted at the time that it did not base its reversal on a wide range of technical evidence. Judge Jackson later ruled that Microsoft had illegally tied Internet Explorer to Windows, stating that the bundling held no benefit for consumers and harmed competition.

After Microsoft's filing this week, its opponent in the case, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and a variety of U.S. states, has until January 12th to file a reply

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