Microsoft files appeal, attacks Jackson

Microsoft launched an appeal of the guilty verdict in its antitrust trial with a sweeping 118 page filing that accuses Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson of being biased against the company and entering a ruling that was "infected with error." Microsoft was particularly harsh in its stance against Jackson, who provided the media with interviews after his ruling was issued and embarked on a speaking tour, appearing at antitrust conferences. Microsoft says that any "reasonable observer would question his impartiality ... and the fairness of the entire proceeding." Microsoft quotes many remarks made by Jackson both during and after the trial to support its claim that the judge was out to get the company.

"I am not aware of any case authority that says I have to give them any due process at all," Jackson told the New York Times. "The case is over. They lost." He also compared Microsoft's appeal to Japan after World War II. "It’s procedurally unusual to do what Microsoft is proposing: Are you aware of very many cases in which the defendant can argue with the jury about what an appropriate sanction should be? Were the Japanese allowed to propose the terms of their surrender? The government won the case."

Microsoft goes so far as to say that Jackson's entire ruling should simply be thrown out because he's violated the Code of Conduct for United States Judges. Microsoft is asking the appellate court to reverse or vacate the verdict and give the case to another judge for a new trial. While it's highly unlikely that such a thing will happen, Microsoft's rationale is obvious: The longer this process is drawn out, the more unlikely it is that the company will be broken up. In the six months since the guilty verdict, the company's market power has shrunk considerably, and its stock price at one time fell to half of its December 1999 high. Financially, the company has yet to recover from this year's damage, though it's unclear whether this was caused by the trial or the overall market conditions.

Microsoft's appeal filing is a massive document with far-ranging repercussions. I will have a full review of the document available tomorrow

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