The US Supreme Court announced today that it won't hear Microsoft's appeal, rejecting the company's request to overturn the earlier antitrust verdict against it. The decision came without comment or dissent, meaning that none of the Supreme Court justices have weighed in with any opinions in the case or disagreed with the original verdict. By upholding the lower court ruling against the company, the Court has in effect confirmed that Microsoft is an illegal monopoly that defended and expanded its market power by hurting customers, competitors, and partners.
Microsoft had petitioned the high court to throw out Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's original guilty verdict after the US District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decided earlier this year that Jackson's verdict would stand, despite throwing out his breakup remedy for the company. With the Supreme Court option played, Microsoft must now face the lower court for a final time, unless it can work a settlement. Last week, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered Microsoft and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to meet around the clock to attempt to settle the case.
The two sides have an October 15 deadline to reach a settlement on their own; if that attempt fails, the court will provide a mediator. The mediator will report any progress to the judge every 10 days until November 2. At that point, if the two sides don't reach a settlement, Microsoft will head back to court, with hearings currently slated for March. The judge has said that any remedy against the company will be "the harshest and broadest possible." Observers expect the remedies to include serious behavioral curbs and an opening of the Windows source code to competitors.