A federal appeals court on Friday officially returned the ongoing antitrust case against Microsoft Corp. to the lower U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Through a lottery process, the District Court tapped Colleen Kollar-Kotelly as the judge who will decide what remedies should be applied to Microsoft to break its monopoly grip on the operating system market.
She replaces District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson on the case. He ruled last year that Microsoft operates as an illegal monopoly in the desktop operating system market and outlined structural and behavioral remedies, including splitting the software giant into two companies.
Microsoft appealed that decision, but found little relief with the Appeals Court as it upheld the lower court’s illegal monopoly charge. However, the Appeals Court overturned Judge Jackson’s remedies, and ordered that a new District Court judge be chosen to decide those details and other aspects of the case. The Appeals Court sharply rebuked Jackson for interviews he gave to journalists and public comments he made about the case while it was still in his court.
The Appeals Court last week rejected a Microsoft motion that it not send the case back to the District Court, until the U.S. Supreme Court responds to a company request to hear the case. Friday’s “mandate” from the Appeals Court to return the case to the District Court was expected and is part of the procedure for remanding the matter.
Meanwhile, Microsoft officials have said they will continue to seek favorable resolution of the case by pursuing settlement options with the U.S. Department of Justice and state attorneys general – the plaintiffs who filed suit four years ago.
Barring a settlement, Judge Kollar-Kotelly will consider the issues of remedies and whether Microsoft broke antitrust laws by tying source code from the Internet Explorer Web browser to the Windows operating system. A hearing schedule has not been announced, but the hearings are widely expected to begin soon.
She was appointed to the District Court in May 1997, according to the court Web site. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1965 from The Catholic University of America and her law degree in 1968 from Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America. After that, she served as law clerk to Judge Catherine B. Kelly of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. From 1969 to 1972, Judge Kollar-Kotelly was an attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and then served as the chief legal counsel at a hospital until 1984. She was appointed Associate Judge of the D.C. Superior Court in October 1984, and served as Deputy Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division from 1995 until her appointment to the federal bench.
She has been a Fellow of the American Bar Association, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine in a joint teaching program on mental health and the law, and chair of the Board of the Art Trust for Superior Court.
(Matt Berger in San Francisco and Nancy Weil in Boston contributed to this report.)
Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash., can be reached at http://www.microsoft.com/. The Department of Justice is available online at http://www.usdoj.gov/.