Microsoft, government agree to fast track case on appeal

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson says he is going to place Microsoft's appeal in its antitrust case on a "fast track" in order to avoid any delays that might disrupt the economy; this will also get the company's appeal before the Supreme Court as quickly as possible. Additionally, the judge set a May 24th date for the remedy hearing, giving the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Microsoft until the end of April to submit their "best and final offers" as proposed remedies. Jackson issued his conclusions of law in the Microsoft antitrust trial, a stinging attack on the company, which he described as a "predatory monopolist" that broke the law in its attempts to protect its Windows monopoly.

" We're now entering the remedy phase, and I am very much desirous of having an appellate panel take a look at my work product so far and would prefer if we were able to conclude the remedy phase on a fast track," Jackson told representatives of the two sides Wednesday. "My transcendent objective is to get this thing before an appellate tribunal, one or another, as quickly as possible because I don't want to disrupt the economy or waste any more of yours or my time on a remedy if it's going to come back here \[on appeal\]."

Later in the day, a spokesperson for the DOJ confirmed that both Microsoft and the government had agreed to the fast tracking of the remedy phase. Ironically, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates appeared at the White House and other Washington D.C. locations Wednesday, discussing the future of technology with U.S. lawmakers. One intriguing possibility that becomes more and more relevant as more time goes by is the possibility that a new administration could affect the trial: The U.S. will elect a new president in November. When asked about this possibility today, Gates offered up a non-committal, "probably, yes," though the company later downplayed his comments.

As for a remedy, everyone has an opinion, it seems. Fortunately, we won't need to debate this during years of appeals; with Wednesday's ruling, it seems that we might have closure to the antitrust trial by the end of the summer

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