MS appeals brief blasts lower court

In a brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals Monday, Microsoft Corp. blasted a lower court’s decision in the government’s antitrust case, asserting that U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson’s ruling to break up the software giant was based on a misunderstanding of antitrust issues.

The company argued in the brief that because of a variety of factual, legal and procedural errors, the ruling should be reversed. Microsoft said that the ruling would harm, rather than encourage innovation.

The appeals court ordered Microsoft to present its brief – not to exceed 150 pages – on Nov. 27. It subsequently ordered a 25-page joint “friend of the court” brief from the Association for Competitive Technology and the Computing Technology Industry Association also to be presented Monday, along with a joint brief from the Association for Objective Law and the Center for the Moral Defense of Capitalism.

The court scheduled the U.S. government to file its reply January 12, 2001.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ruled on June 7 that Microsoft had used its dominance in operating systems to quash competition. Adopting the proposal of U.S. Department of Justice prosecutors, he ruled Microsoft must be broken up into two separate companies.

One company would own the Windows operating system – subject to conduct restrictions — while the other would own applications, including the Microsoft Office suite of software applications and the Internet Explorer Web browser. Jackson’s final judgment stayed the breakup until the end of the appeals process.

Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash., can be reached at The DOJ, in Washington, D.C., can be reached via the Internet at