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Microsoft Proposes Lengthy Appeal Period 151

ackthpt writes: "Yahoo News is carrying this short article indicating Microsoft's preference for a five month appeal process."
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Microsoft Proposes Lengthy Appeal Period

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  • Or Gore... doesn't matter who ends up in the oval office; it'll be a new face, and another chance at gaining the sympathies of the head of the executive branch.

    On a side note, while I think Bush might favor big business more than Gore, I also think that Gore would sell his wife to the highest bidder if it meant a campaign contribution. While I'm fairly sure that Bush is probably no more trustworthy or fair minded than Gore, at least he hasn't actually demonstrated himself to be the world-class screwup Clinton-wannabe looser that Gore has.
  • by Private Essayist ( 230922 ) on Monday October 02, 2000 @05:20PM (#737050)
    I hardly think five months will be enough time to make M$ appealing...
  • Well said Rellik! This is @#$@ capitalism not communism, we don't need the @#$@# government coming in to help those little companies make everythign equal. The whole antitrust idea should be abolished Xcept for cases of utilites. If i have a sweet product i will do whatever i damn well please with it and distribute it under my won terms and if they don't like it they can buy something else. The MPAA/RIAA is taking Napster/DeCSS to court for making the things they sell avialable for free. This is basically what other companies do. Linux, Corel and whoever do, they provide the basic things MS does for a 'cheaper' price Xcept MS isn't being a bitch an complaining about it. If they make it easy to use, easyily accessable, and CHEAP, we will come to it. Other than that, MS4LIfe. :)
  • Well during an appeal, only the information and evidence presented at trial is considered. So current events should not influence the appeal courts decision. Only during the punishment phase would MS' status be a factor.
  • However the longer it takes, the less likely that there is to be a credible software superpower to provide the competition to drive the monolith into beneficial and open competition.

    I am of the opinion that the best thing that can happen to microsoft - from the point of view of their products - is to be split as Judge Jackson recommended. Then they may actually get to writing good OS software and good app software instead of blending the two into the abortion that they are producing at the moment.... not to mention providing a good platform for other software packages - so leveraging their OS.

    just makes sense that way.

    ... oh, and re-open alcatraz for the marketting types - keep them out of the damned product!

  • ary/weekly/aa081099.htm Don't call people stupid, stupid.
  • Really? This is fascinating. How far does this go? Could I, under oath, tell a judge an obvious lie (say about a commonly known fact) and get away with it if opposing counsel fails to counter in some way what I said?
    This might be mistaken for a flame because I'm exagerating the situation, but that not what I intend. I realize there are defined tasks in the court, but I wonder where the line is. Clearly we can't have judges performing their own intensive investigations, and I suspect that the MS lawyers could (also) protest that Judge Jackson is not a computer expert.
  • Also add to your list perjury. Just about every executive of MS lied under oath and rightly belongs in court on criminal charges.
    Isn't the punishment for perjury possible disbarrment in Arkansas and a party with half the Senate at your house?
  • While you are probably right *now*, there was a time that people ditched a perfectly good 32-bit OS for DOS with Windows for Workgroups 3.xx
    Honestly: back in the time when a Pentium 133 was a hot-rod, I know that a German PC-vendor called Vobis [] sold their Highscreen series with OS/2 preinstalled. I'm really sure of it because a friend of mine bought one (Hi Krissyboy!).
    Believe it or not, but most people ditched it for the largely inferior DOS/Windows combination. I know, I'm probably a bit biased because I *liked* OS/2
  • they do have appeal.
  • Handful of airlines... high prices

    Many airlines... low prices

    I suggest you switch to name brand heroin. The bargain stuff just isn't the same quality it used to be.
  • as a car with the engine welded into an inpenetrable steel box is easy to repair. Of course it's put in there to keep inexperienced users from accidentally messing it up - like if there were a knob on your dashboard for injector timing, a lot of cars would be towed in for service because someone twisted the knob and didn't know how to adjust it properly. However that will never deter the auto hobbyist and do-it-myself-ers.

    Seriously, a lot of vendors are handling the 'broken software' support problem (when a vendor sells a pc w/ oem windows on it, it's the VENDOR who has to tech support the damn software, not Msft) just by 'reimaging' the disk. Just wipe it out and start all over.

    If your claim of market dominance due to ease of use and managability were actually true, the Mac would have outsold DOS & Windows LONG ago.
  • that will never deter the auto hobbyist and do-it-myself-ers from trying to make a truely competitive, high performance race car, instead of an average, plain vanilla, ordinary family vehicle that everyone has.
  • I'm not sure, I think i'd prefer if neither of them won.

    I can hear the crowd now "hit him, kill him, hit him back you fool...."
  • notwithstanding jokes about it being "half an operating system" :)) But IBM has already had their wrist slapped for predatory market practices in the 60's (the old 'plug in-compatible' trick) and so couldn't get away with the back-stabbing, illegal tie-ins and vendor intimidation it takes to claw your way to the top. You want usability? How about click on document icon, drag document icon to printer icon and release. But nooooooo, the average intelligent computer consumers freely decided they wanted their GPF's and black screens of death; they wanted their playskool toys with big chunky parts you can't swallow and bright primary colors, and cry for a confused nanny to edit their win.ini file when it breaks. They also wanted a windowing system that issues big scary bogus error messages if you dare try to install it on DR-DOS.
  • Can we throw Bush, Jack Valenti, and Hillary Rosen in there too? Please?

  • Did a lengthy anti-trust case help or hurt IBM? I think that it hurt them. While IBM never fully appreciated the PC market back then, the anti-trust case is believed to have hindered IBM's ability to enter new markets using their dominant computer position.

    Has the anti-trust case against Microsoft slowed down this company? Perhaps yes. But I think that MS also knows that they can't behave in the same fashion as IBM. After all, MS knows that they are where they are today because IBM didn't move fast enough.

  • Also, if Bush gets elected (no more BUll SHit!), they might have a better chance of not being split up.
  • If they can't release anything on time, how do you think they are going to get an appeal together that fast!
  • Lengthly? "A five month appeal process"? Considering the speed of the legal process and Microsoft's lawyers, that's zippier than DOS on an Athlon.
  • Okay, you right: IBM was not always a good player. But I think that was way before the OS/2 area (I'm only into computing since '89, so I'm not authority on the topic), but then the domination of Wfw3xx was already prevalent. Linux was still unborn and for that matter OS/2 was the only good choice for personal i386 based PC. (Talking about desktop, not server) As far as I recall Vobis shipped OS/2, not because it was pushed by IBM (as you said, IBM cound't do such things anymore), but because it believed in it's superiority. Consumers complained and later on they shipped it with Wfw3xx anyway. But then, I see you agree with me on that it wasn't bad OS at all :-)

    Actually I found your comparison with playskool toys pretty weird: I tought that playschool was childproof and that swallowing the toy would be the equivalent of a KernelPanic/BSOD/Bomb(Mac). Now, if you hold the comparison with Windows then it is more like giving a fork to the kid to play around with. I have yet to meet a normal user whose PC is still fully functional after 1 year of use (with Windows of course).

    Now, even being a non-open-source-OS-by-big-bad-IBM, I still like OS/ it's time it had a chance, but medriocity won. Sadly.... My new hopes are in Linux, but it's not yet ready for the average desktop user.

  • Five months to let the evidence sit and look real. More to the point, has anyone every gotten one of their "Freedom to Inovate" newsletters. It would be nice to see that used as evidence against them.
  • as a car with the engine welded into an inpenetrable steel box is easy to repair.

    Or more likely a Glass box or something as fragile.

    Of course it's put in there to keep inexperienced users from accidentally messing it up - like if there were a knob on your dashboard for injector timing, a lot of cars would be towed in for service because someone twisted the knob and didn't know how to adjust it properly.

    Putting the knob there totally negates any poing of the box in the first place. An analogy with all the settings easily available in Windows which really should be kept out of reach of the end user.
  • You'd think they'd just want to get it over with instead of dragging out this period where they know everything they do is being scrutinized.

  • No MS-Basher can debate my points, that is a fact, you pathetic loser. I sugguest you go read the U.S. constitution, unless you agree with the decss judge that software isn't speech, it seems to guarentee MS' right to make/bundle whatever it wants.
  • Alternatively I suggest MS just got and buy a group of islands somewhere and turn from corporation into a minor dictatorship. A land where marketers roam wild and free, occasionally attempting to pass themselves off as lawyers or tech gurus.

    Probably not a bad idea, they when they break the law it's far easier to bomb them rather than messing around with lawyers.
    Maybe some dissatisfied customers could club together to get hold of a second hand B52.
  • How is MS "bundling" of internet explorer any different than say linux "bundling" telnet, or apple "bundling" email or quicktime?

    It's not, from a practical or technical perspective. It's also not any different from KDE bundling Konqueror, or GNOME bundling a browser compon, or Red Hat shipping with Mozilla.

    Are we a society of crybabies?


  • Will this really change anything? In the year 2050 when the appeals finally end and Microsoft is finally broken up, do you really think that this is going to stop people from using their products? The average consumer doesn't care. They'll use whatever is on their computer when it's shipped to them. Like it or not, Windows is currently the standard only because of name recognition and because their OS ships on the majority of new computers. The only way of changing this would be for them to completely stop creating the product. The average consumer doesn't care, and that's why there's little that we can do but drive them out of business (yeah right).
  • I honestly find myself wondering if we read the same findigs of fact and judgement.

    You DID read them page for page, right? I did. and as a highly accomplished professional engineer who has watched the whole MS tyhing develop since the first PC I was frankly ASTOUNDED at how clearly the court understood the cogent issues.

    Frankly, IMO they demonstarted a better grasp of both the market issues and the computer science then many a slash-dot-poster. (Jackson's office, among other things, clearly defined why most of Windows ISN'T OS code, something most of us knew but were hard pressed to explain.)

  • A lot of ppl seem to think the MS wants to draw out the appeal process so that the final arbitration can be performed by a Supreme Court that may have some Bush appointees. Remember, the eventual Court of Appeals ruling will probably be appealed to the SC. However, it is not a given that Bush will win.

    This may part of MS's strategy, but the main reason to lengthen the process is to make Jackson's remedial solution no longer pertinent in the fast changing computer industry. That's it. This is not a criminal case where one is simply punished for performing a crime. This is anti-trust. The final solution is one that restores competition in a framework of the consumers that were harmed by the illegal actions of the monopolist.

    As long as this case is being decided, MS stock value will remain relative low. Furthermore, MS can't be the predatory shark that they usually are. They have to be a little bit more subtle.

    Remember why MS "integrated" the browser into the Windows98. It was to make the previous Jackson ruling non-pertinent.

  • The sancity of the Findings of Fact i.e. "they cannot be overturned" is a myth perpetuated by the press and the BS'ers they quote (the same people who said there was a 100% chance the Supreme Court would agree to bypass the Appeals Court and take the case). The standard for overturning findings of fact is clear error, and I think Microsoft will argue there was a lot of clear error in the findings of fact.
  • a breif post for a short article which will lead to lots of meaningless posts like this one.

    new slahsdot pole:

    under my pants i wear:
    [x]bill gates
  • Windows is currently the standard only because of name recognition and because their OS ships on the majority of new computers

    AND because for the average new computer buyer, from somone like dell or compaq, it is VASTLY EASIER TO USE, MAANGE, AND UNDERSTAND.

    But then again, we don't need little things like usability - naw - especially not for newbies who only need the Internet and Email.


  • The MS case is probably the biggest legal decision this court that the tech industry will have for at least a decade. Given that antitrust cases tend to wind on forever, this is still a quick pace.

    In a fair court, by a fair judge who listened to months of evidence, and asked questions of both sides (did you follow the case day by day on cnet like I did?) they were found guilty of criminal conduct that violates the laws of this land.

    While I'm inclined to agree with the district court's decision, I don't know if we can really characterize the trial as fair. A judge who reads anti-MS books in his spare time? No hearings at all on the penalty? Wow, if this were some guy charged with murder, we'd all be complaining that his rights were violated even if it was obvious he did it.
  • Under the 5th and 14th amendments to the US constitution, no one (including fictional persons such as corporations) shall be denied liberty without due process of law. Process due includes the right to appeal to the supreme court as well as whichever lower courts Congress establishes. It's true that Microsoft has gotten part of their due process, but it's fallacious to say they've received it all.
  • They have. It's called the United States.
  • According to what you're saying, the planned economy of the Communist countries is the best, most efficient economic system Well, we all know what happened to them.

    I'm not arguing in favour of a centrally planned economy. Just saying that some parts of it are better managed centrally. More efficient, less duplication. Imagine having 70 different companies vying for your sewer business. The cost of switching providers and the inefficiency of having 70 sets of pipes is ludicrous. The same could be said for many other areas of infrastructure, where the cost of finding a substitute works against any price reductions that competition might bring. This is the famous "barriers to entry" argument about competing operating systems. You ought to know that.

    You sound like you're one of the cardboard "right wing" hosts of some CNN news program. You're saying "Oooh -- communist bad, capitalist good" without responding to what I said. I could just respond exactly in kind -- "You're saying that Capitalism is good. Everybody knows that's wrong." Nice try though.

  • For the nth time...M$ are not being punished for *having* a monopoly, they are being punished for *abusing* a monopoly. It's just like one company owning the rail network, and charging $1000 per trip. And then trying to damage the road system so cars couldn't drive on them.

    Abusing a monopoly hurts consumers, which is why infrastructure elements like power grids, highways, railways, banks, and other institutions that allow trade and commerce to thrive, should *never* be privately owned. There's lots of other places where commerce and competition provide real consumer benefit without putting people (and the economy) at the mercy of stock markets.

    Straight forward factual evidence can show whether or not a corporation is abusing its monopoly, but making them stop abusing it is something much more difficult. In a case like Microsoft's, it may never be possible to stop them without causing injustice (by short-circuiting due process) or economic harm (by hurting Microsoft's shareholders).

    On my computers, I can run any number of operating systems, so I fail to see how this can be said to be a natural environment for a monopoly.

    Your sample is too small. Your results are skewed in favour of experienced computer users.

  • No no, go do a search of US Fed Circuits on FindLaw for the phrase "clear error" and you'll get a gazillion rulings saying "we review the findings of fact for clear error"; in contrast you'll get exactly zero saying the same for the supposed "egregious error" standard.
  • 1. Linux is not a monopoly, MS is (read Finding of Fact).
    2. Linux companies do not necessarily make the telnet et al that are bundled. MS makes all of their pieces (i.e. if they had bundled IE, Netscape, maybe Opera, and set it up so that you could choose whichever one you wanted, they wouldn't be accused of bundling)
    3. Sherman & Clayton Acts (approximately 100 years old, it isn't new law).
    4. They actively sought to use their monopoly to put competition out of business (Read Findings of Fact). This is what they're accused of, not having a monopoly (which is legal).

    want me to continue?
  • There is one weak point in Judge Jackson's ruling which Microsoft is sure to attack and on which they might win.

    At one point in the trial Microsoft testified that 'such and such' was impossible - Judge Jackson went home and tried to perform the action on his computer and found that Microsoft was lying; he was able to do it. He came into court the next day and stated what he had found.

    While this sounds like an eminently reasonable thing to do - surely anyone with technical knowledge would likely have done the same thing - it is a violation of 'due process'. Judge Jackson was supposed to rule only on evidence entered at trial not on independent investigation he or anyone else performed outside of the courtroom. The Microsoft lawyers objected but Judge Jackson overruled their objection.

    The fact that the judge caught Microsoft lying, even the fact that they were lying is legally irrelevant; remember, the essence of the law is 'straining at gnats while swallowing camels'. This may be the gnat of reversible error on which the ruling against Microsoft is overturned at the appellate level.

  • Microsoft proposes "Microsoft can do whatever they want" law to Congress.


  • wouldn't you start your sentence, regardless of the appellate process?

    Yes, he would. Which brings up an interesting point: Judge Jackson placed interim procedural remedies on M$, which he lifted when the Justice Department applied to have the procedure "fast-tracked" to the Supreme Court. Now that the whole mess has been sent back through the normal appeals procedure, shouldn't the procedural remedies be reapplied?
  • This is wrong in several respects. In particular, while the Supreme Court has final say on constitutional issues, a substantial part of its docket consists of cases presenting nonconstitutional issues arising under federal law (the Internal Revenue Code, the federal securities and commodities laws, civil rights laws, antitrust laws, etc., etc.). The Court does not treat these cases as presumptively less important than cases involving constitutional issues. I seriously doubt that the Supreme Court bumped the Microsoft antitrust case in favor of the ten-thousandth criminal procedure case it will hear because the latter involves the Constitution and is therefore more important.

    Also, there are no "multiple levels" of courts between the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court, unless "multiple" is permitted to mean "one." After the District Court -- Jackson's court -- there is the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Then there is the U.S. Supreme Court. The end.

  • Ewps. I just reread what I said. The case United States of America vs. Microsoft Corporation was decided by a judge, not by a jury of peers. Perhaps this is the distinction?
  • The Courts generally work in succession. Things start off at a low level, then move up as needed. If needed, the US Supreme Court gets involved. The prosecution wanted to skip over all the multiple levels of courts between Jacksons and the Supreme Court to help their case.

    It is a rare occasion when the Supreme Court skips over the appeals process. Generally, they do it in cases where a specific portion of the Constitution is in question.

    In the MS case, no constitutional issues are being raised, so these cases go to bottom of the list. Moving directly to the Supreme Court would eliminate much of the process.

    For the OSS crowd, or people who just want MS broken up, it is *far* better to through the process. I was surprised to see the government try to fast-track the case.

    See, what will happen is that MS now has to find specific arguments to contradict the findings of Jackson's court. When it gets to the Supreme Court, the process is very short. It all comes down to oral arguments basically. In that case, MS has a very good chance of winning. But now, when they get to the Suprememe Court, it will be after the courts find specific evidence of abuses, *and* lowers court have upheld them as valid.

    The Suprememe Court over turning some lame-duck Federal judge is no big deal. The Supreme Court overturning layers upon layers of judges, appeals judges (3-5 judge panels) and top-level Superior judges is rather uncommon. It makes the entire system look back - like "well, how come those moronic 15 judges were all wrong - I mean the Suprememe Court overturned ALL of them..".

    The Surpreme Court, remember, generally deals with cases of either constitutional importance, or cases that have gone all the way through the process of appeals but are still disputed AND are legally significant.

  • Or Nader... doesn't matter who ends up in the oval office.... Oh wait, yes it does. The political ambitions of the elected administration will determine which suits the Justice Department proceeds with and which are abandoned. Make no mistake about it.
  • Oh, I agree with you... I just don't think that the political ambitions of Gore and Bush are different enough to influence the outcome of something like this.
  • by rjh ( 40933 ) <> on Monday October 02, 2000 @05:57PM (#737097)
    Check the US Constitution. Especially that bit where it says that no fact, once determined by a court, can ever be judged by a second court. This is not some bit of legal procedure: this is a Constitutional safeguard against judge-shopping.

    The standard is not clear error; it is egregious error, error so profound that it violated the Constitutional guarantee of a fair trial. If you have a reference where a court has merely overturned "clear error" in a Finding, I invite you to post it here.
  • If it were to going to have become one, it would've done so during the trial, not during the appellate phase. In this phase, there are no exciting witnesses, no presenting of evidence, none of the stuff that makes for an exciting spectacle. All there is is a bench of judges sitting in judgment on some esoteric legal controversies, and that's hardly the sort of thing that makes for exciting press.

    What people don't realize is that suits like these always drag on this long. In that respect, it's more like civil law than criminal law.
  • Face it, monopolies are more efficient at providing infrastructure like operating systems and telecommunications. Why punish them for it? It's hard enough to make a profit as an infrastructure provider -- look at the airlines, railways and shipping companies. In order to be profitable, they have to be vast conglomerates. Hardly what one would call an entrepreneurial environment.

    We should shit or get off the pot here, folks. Either we accept the fact that monopolies are good for consumers and leave them be, or we nationalize them and get it over with. This twiddling around and bullshit is a waste of time -- someone's got to stand up and say the emperor has no clothes on. Anyone who thinks competition is going to make all the boo-boos better is dumber than a sack of wet diapers.

    Consensus makes interoperability possible and monopolies are the most economically efficient way to achieve consensus. The only question is who will own the monopoly. Will the monopoly serve the needs of many or the needs of just a few?

    The pursuit of Microsoft by the DOJ is as much an attempt to rescue the tattered legend of the American Entrepreneur as it is to enforce the rule of law.

  • did you follow the case day by day on cnet like I did?

    I saw the trial as completely unfair, actually. I couldnt believe the actual rudeness that Jackson had towards MS. At one point he actually fell asleep during an MS cross-examination.

    In a fair court, by a fair judge

    Those are legal findings ie 'Fair'. Jackson has not be upheld as Fair yet. Guess who does that? The Appeals court.

    But they have been tried and convicted

    Yes, but that has always been just the first step in any court case.

  • Here's [] a list of which cases the supreme court has taken so far this term. Pretty much by definition, they're all cases of a constitutional dimension, which the DOJ v. Microsoft case is not. And, moreover, the supreme court still reserves the power to judge the case when it reaches them from the appellate circuit.
  • That provision of the Constitution protects the rights of defendants in criminal cases. It does not grant any rights to the government or state attorneys general as plaintiffs in a civil case.
  • Since you're so wrong yea. 1. MS being a monopoly of OSes doesn't make any sense. How does anyone know that every single machine that came with windows is not currently running linux? That would make linux the monopoly, wouldn't it? I mean linux doesn't keep figures of how many copies are out there because it's free, so it's legal to burn it to a cd and give it to a friend, stick on your ftp server and let people download. So how do we know the entire world isn't really running linux? =) You cannot even prove MS is a monopoly, until you audit every single machine running today, or most of them. This is a non-serious argument, but it just goes to show how easy it is to not use MS, it's nothing like being forced to use one long distance company. If you don't like MS go download linux, what free alternative to Bell was there when it was ruled an monopoly, besides shouting really loud..? No, this is just a case of a bunch of loud crybabies trying to ruin it for all the happy windows users because their OS doesn't support as many devices, configurations, etc. 2. Some unix OS makers make all of the pieces that are bundled with their OS, and it's not easy to change the default software in some cases, certainly no easier than it would be to do so in an MS OS. And how exactly is it you can't specify to use netscape instead of internet explorer? Hell the OS even allows you to change the default link launcher, so you can make sure you are running netscape everytime you click a link... Sounds like it allows you to do what you said it doesn't. 3. The constitution is even older. Just because a law is unconstitutional for 100 years doesn't make it more constitutional. Hell racists laws were on the books for 100 years, those were good too? 4. Unix OS makers actively seek to put competition out of business, too. Just like every other damn company. what is this disney world?? You're probably shocked to hear soldiers actually fight on the battlefield and not engage is point debates, too.
  • 2. Linux companies do not necessarily make the telnet et al that are bundled. MS makes all of their pieces (i.e. if they had bundled IE, Netscape, maybe Opera, and set it up so that you could choose whichever one you wanted, they wouldn't be accused of bundling)

    Actually, MS licences a bunch of peices that are included in the OS. It's normally the utilities and codecs though. One example is the "Imaging" program is from WANG. In win2k the degragmentation software is third party too. Hyperterm is probably the most obvious third party peice. In the case of a web browser, opera wasn't around and netscape refused to make a version that could be embedded in an app the way a key peice needs to be in the windows platform. However it would have been cool if there was some form of api standard for being a web browser, such that anyone could have plugged in. Of course on a testing perspective that would have been a nightmare for anyone writting an app that used it,

  • Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 31 [] provides for 40 days for service of the initial brief, 30 days for service of the responsive brief, and 14 for service of a reply brief, for a total of something like three months. The story suggests Microsoft is looking for 60, 60, 30, or an additional two months in total, about half of which would go to the government.
  • I shouldn't feed the trolls, but I will:
    1. Monopoly in law does not mean 100%. MS is a monopoly, so found in Finding of Fact. Look up the history of Sherman & Clayton act, including all previous trials. No one (even Standard Oil) had 100%, and were still found guilty.
    2. Despite what you might think, the Supreme Court (who have final say in it) has found that the Sherman & Clayton Acts are constitutional. Don't like it? Get Congress to repeal the Acts. Until then, they're the law of the land. (btw: whether other laws are legal or not isn't the issue, it's whether the Sherman & Clayton Acts are. Nice try at redirection).
    3. Regardless of what others do, it's Microsoft on trial, Microsoft that is charged. If you believe others are violating the Sherman & Clayton Acts, talk to the Justice Department.
  • Take a closer look at that list []. More than half of those cases present only issues arising under federal laws enacted by Congress -- the Federal Arbitration Act, the Voting Rights Act, federal environmental laws, the acts governing certain federal agencies, the tax code.

    And even in cases where there are both kinds of issues -- constitutional and nonconstitutional -- the Court will try to decide the case by resolving only the nonconstitutional question if it can.

  • That's decent. That doesn't sound like a major stall to me - two months isn't a whole lot of time. They just need some planning sessions. Are we at the point where we would deny Microsoft the right to plan competently for their defense?
  • You can't appeal the same judgment more than once, because -- generally speaking -- if you don't raise an issue on the first appeal, you waive it. Your cynicism is unwarranted.
  • You're the kind of bozo that probably cheered when chinese tanks ran over the student protestors in tianemen square back in 91/92. After all, it IS illegal to demostrate without authority in that country, and certainly death is a common punishment there. Question is not whether MS broke the law. The law is absurd, example? How many laws do you break in a day? Well, are you married? Have sex with your spouse? Probably broke the law. I guess we shouldn't have any sympathy when the government thugs come for you, after all congress hasn't repealed the anti-sex laws.. Question is whether it is right. And I didn't say MS didn't have a %100 monopoly I said you can't prove MS even has a majority monopoly. How can you prove that of all the machines out there most of them run windows? Most of them could be running linux, there is simply no way to tell. Most machines ship with windows but you don't even need to see it you can just boot your machine with a linux cd and install it instead. So not being able to prove a company has a monopoly is the same thing as no monopoly.
  • I hate to sound paranoid, but is Microsoft hedging for a Bush victory/Republican Congress in the fall? Assuming that the appeals court rules there are serious procedural errors (procedural, not substantive) a new trial would be ordered and the whole dang process starts over.... Would the Bush Administration instruct its DOJ to pursue this case? Would the antitrust section be funded enough to take this behemoth through years of litigation? If I were an antitrust chief with the kind of budget corporate enforcement types get under the (historically) GOP, maybe I would be very inclined to settle? Of course, no matter what, the case will continue into the next presidency. But if a new trial is ordered right after Bush became, this would provide an excellent opportunity for the DOJ to say, "well, we're gonna give up/settle". (Remember, the folks who make these decisions aren't GS or SES, they're political appointees.)
  • Usability is a relative and opinionated term. If Linux were being shipped on every new computer, it would be what the vast majority of people would use, and Windows would seem quite difficult to most.
  • Look at the recent strife in California with the LAPD. When you cut corners on matters of due process, real people get hurt, and real people suffer. When you don't cut corners, at best a little current suffering continues, and this industry and nation has been putting up with Microsoft for a long time now. We can afford to allow ourselves to obtain the necessary legitimacy before smacking them down and smacking them hard.
  • The side which is calling the shots is the side which sits on the bench, wears shorts and T-shirts underneath their blisteringly hot robes, and gets called "Your Honor". :)

    Remember that: no matter what lawyers say, the judges are the ones who are ultimately controlling everything. Judges also have better sense than to hold press conferences during the time when a trial is underway (don't even mention Lance Ito to me; good grief, he was an embarassment to the legal system).

    Lawyers serve two purposes. The first is to represent their client's interests in court, and the second is to represent their client's interests outside of court. Every time an attorney gives a press conference, they're going to do everything in their power to convey that their side is the one that's winning in the courtroom, that they're calling all of the shots. The reality is they are both presenting arguments to a judge (or judges, in the case of appellate work), and the judges are the ones who call the shots; and the judges are so good at calling the shots that they only have to call them once, when the verdict is handed down. :)

    During US v Microsoft, Microsoft lawyers were holding daily press conferences saying how much ass they were kicking in the courtroom. It was totally laughable, given how badly they lost, but they still did it anyway. They're attorneys. They represent their client's interests, and it's in their client's interests to look good to the media.
  • Microsoft extends the current dark cloud in order to buy time to buy up outstanding shares. When the cloud finally lifts (as Microsoft surely believes it will) the guys on top will be that much the richer for it.
  • Rather amusingly, Microsoft is living up to their fiduciary responsibilties by screwing the public. Corporations exist, legally, to make their shareholders rich. It's been proven that in the postion that Microsoft is in, the best way they can accomplish that is unsavoury tactics. If they hold back, well, they're still doing illegal things.
  • by Karmageddon ( 186836 ) on Monday October 02, 2000 @07:32PM (#737119)
    Is this goign to become another O.J. Simpson trial?

    I hope so! It would be cool to see live chase of Bill Gates in a white Bronco driving around for hours threatening suicide. Then, after the trial is over he could devote himself to finding "the real monopolist". If

  • I think Microsoft is seeking to gain a couple of things with this request:

    1) They want to look like they are taking it seriously - that's why the coverage has had the number of pages listed ("Wow they really do have a lot to present!")
    2) They want to look like they are the mature, responsible ones - if the government comes out spitting on this "reasonable" request - MS look like the adults.
    3) The want to perfect the 10 gajillion pages of tripe they are going to dump on the court - if you're gonna dump sewage on someone's doorstep and get away with it - that sewage had better smell pretty good. Either that or run really fast.
    4) They want to have grounds for appeal if it goes south again - "We didn't have time to prepare bwah bwah..."
    5) They will take any chance they can get for the political climate to change, their product line to change, the industry to change so that it all becomes academic. "But it's all one system - look you can't pull the +class of software here+ out without the whole thing collapsing. The media player is built in to the kernel."
    6) They want to change public opinion.
    7) Insert your fave conspiracy theory here.

    I can't stop thinking of that ruling made against Microsoft in their temp employee case - their press release said they were "reviewing" the judgement. Imagine the luxury of being able to "review" judgements instead of being bound by them like everyone else............
  • by Anonymous Coward span the election.

    May the highest bidder win! (both/either the
    presidency/chance to (not) breakup microsoft)
  • Hey, let 'em cling to the x86 platform in a single monolithic block. (That's why I don't like the Corel deal. Corel Suite 8 was written in Java.)

    They'll sink faster that way when people want something that doesn't need to run in a 'fridge or set fire to their desks and their wallets.

    Meanwhile the lawyers will pick their bones clean and we can all move on to better things.
  • > the same people who said there was a 100% chance the Supreme Court would agree to bypass the Appeals Court and take the case

    Remind us again who all those people were?

  • > In the final analysis - I just do not see that this story is indicative of a Secret Microsoft Plot to Rule the World.

    It really doesn't take much analysis. If I got busted for robbing a bank, no one would be surprised if I wanted to stay out of jail for five more months so I could enjoy my reapings, would they?

  • They're in favor of dragging their feet whenever possible. If they really thought they could win this, they would have been pushing for the speediest trial possible.
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [].
  • Microsoft wants to lengthen the appeals process as long as it can. It worked for IBM, no? If it lengthens the trial, it can continue screwing the populous. The long it screws the populous, the more money is made for the shareholders.

    Who knows - maybe in 10 years, when the Justice department finally gives up, MS will be a huge supported of OSS, just like Big Blue. ;)
  • um.

    What exactly is brief about a document that takes 5 months to prepare, and is twice as long as normally allowed?
  • I think Mainframe entertainment ought to sue Microsoft for the attempted use of the name "Bob".
  • Shit! If Bill Gates were threatening to commit suicide, I'd buy him a gun, with a laser sight, loaded with IR-seeking bullets programmed to 98.6 F, and a hair-trigger.

    Then I'd give him a TV tuned permanently into the LIFETIME channel, or TNN, or anything that will encourage suicidal thoughts.
  • Maybe it's just be, but this seems in many ways like a complete about face for MS. In the past they have always seemed to very confident of themselves, almost to the point of unreasonable arrogance. Or at least that's how their public relations people make them look. What would they have to gain by doing this, instead of requesting a shorter appeal process so they can get their name out of the mud, so to speak?

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Monday October 02, 2000 @06:27PM (#737150) Homepage Journal
    That Microsoft be tried by Combat. Put Bill Gates in one corner, Al Gore in the other and let them fight to the death. You know who wins in that fight? HUMANITY!
  • For the nth time...M$ are not being punished for *having* a monopoly, they are being punished for *abusing* a monopoly. It's just like one company owning the rail network, and charging $1000 per trip. And then trying to damage the road system so cars couldn't drive on them.

    Besides, monopolies only make sense where a choice of providers is very difficult, for example in the case of a rail network, there is generally only one set of track between two adjacent stations. Hence a monopoly is natural here. However in the case the monopoly should be regulated to prevent abuses such as that envisaged above.

    Where a choice of providers is possible, I believe that the choice should be encouraged, it generally works out being better for consumers and for the companies themselves (because of the need for training and true innovation to try to keep ahead of the competitors).

    On my computers, I can run any number of operating systems, so I fail to see how this can be said to be a natural environment for a monopoly.

  • Two men enter, one man leaves!
  • Who's Bob Lande? I think CNet will take just about anyone who can sound officious enough =P

    For the humour-impaired: that was a joke =P

  • Not to nitpick, but if you were busted for grand larceny, and was convicted by a trial by jury, wouldn't you start your sentence, regardless of the appellate process?
  • I don't see a longer appeal period as being a bad thing. Before we rule on a trial as important as this one -- one that could affect the entire software industry -- we really need to consider every possible angle and repercussion of the decision. A longer appeal period gives us as a society more time to hold a conversation about where we want technology to be in the next 20 years.

    Microsoft may be big and greedy, but even the most reprehensible of felons deserves a fair trial. Give Microsoft a fair day in court; you won't regret it later.

  • by zlite ( 199781 ) on Monday October 02, 2000 @05:03PM (#737167)
    One way or another this was going to stretch out for years, given the realities of the legal system. As the last trial proved, the technical complexities are beyond most court's ability to fully comprehend, forcing them to rely on relatively misleading evidence such as out-of-context emails (on both sides), slanted expert testimony, and the impression of honest or lack thereof the judge gets from the testimony of high-tech execs.

    I'm all for a breathing period to pull together reasonable, comprehendible cases if it will lead to an informed decision by the court. Regardless of which way the decision goes, the last thing we want is another vulnerable-to-appeal misfire like Jackson's.
  • They're betting Bush gets inaugurated.

    - A.P.

    * CmdrTaco is an idiot.

  • As I read it, MS wants 5 months just for the preperation of briefs.

    Oh and they want yhose briefs to be three tiems teh size normally allowed i na hearing like this.

    Can you say Staaaaallll?

    Thought you could.
  • Interesting.

    The Findings of Fact actually contain some pretty blatant errors, and I would hardly call the government's case technically adept.

    However it's also a fault of Microsoft that they did a pretty lousy job at pointing out the technical ineptitude of the government's case.

    So I'd really have to say both sides bungled this job.

    That you claim it's cut and dry is solely because of your prior bias.
  • Just like you I am going to get moderated down for critisizing MS but here goes.

    Also add to your list perjury. Just about every executive of MS lied under oath and rightly belongs in court on criminal charges. There was also at least one case of evidence tampring if any DA is brave enough to actually enforce the laws.

    It's probably all for moot if G.W wins though MS has him in their pockets.

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • Ooooh can I move to your planet please.
    The one where G.W hasn't raised a 100 million dollars from sleazy big money, where his rich texas buddies are not buying ads suggesting John McCain is in favor of giving breast cancer to women and he routinely does not confuse facts and misprounce words?
    Too bad Clinton is not allowed to run again he would whip dubyas ass just like he whipped his daddies ass.

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • Five months is a quickie in the legal system. Heck, people actually sit in jail for longer than that waiting for an appeal.

  • Five Months Five months is a quickie in the legal system. Heck, people actually sit in jail for longer than that waiting for an appeal.

    But however long it took a person would be in jail not carrying on as though nothing had happened.
  • AND because for the average new computer buyer, from somone like dell or compaq, it is VASTLY EASIER TO USE, MAANGE, AND UNDERSTAND.

    Windows being easy to use is a very subjective claim as for managing or understanding. Windows certainly isn't easy at all. It lacks remote access for one thing also documentation is a chargable extra, if it is even available at all.
  • Apparently you've never done phone tech support if you think an MS product is easier to use, manage or understand than any other product.

    Or for that matter any kind of support or been any kind of sysadmin.

    It merely has a large market share therefore it's idiosyncracies are more commonly understood.

    Or its work arounds or the appropriare rite, such as the "reinstall it all and hope it works"...
  • Monopolies are bad for consumers. That is why anti-trust laws exist in the first place!

    Also why monopolys tend to be highly regulated.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02, 2000 @05:12PM (#737194)
    How many new releases of Windows M$ can come out with in that 5-month period? WindowsME, Windows 2k, Windows blah blah blah... honestly, it's getting a tad bit ridiculous. It's starting to look like the titles of all the Street-fighter games (you know what I mean.. street-fighter alpha-beta-turbo-gamma 2). Done bitching now, thanks for wasting your time to listen :-)
  • by DavidBrown ( 177261 ) on Monday October 02, 2000 @05:13PM (#737195) Journal
    Essentially, Microsoft is asking for twice the amount of time that is normally allowed to file a written brief. When you look at it from the perspective that it's a particularly complex case, giving the parties 60 days to file an appellate brief instead of the typical 30 days is not out of the ordinary.

    Of course, if the government responds quickly to the Microsoft brief, then the case can be heard sooner rather than later.

    Under the circumstances, I do not feel that the government will argue against this. Microsoft's attorneys have been working on a brief for a very long time, and the government won't get to see it until it has been filed with the court. While arguably, Microsoft does not need 60 days, the government will want 60 days to respond.

    Also, the idea that Microsoft is delaying the case so that George Bush can get elected and drop the whole matter isn't really critical here. Under ordinary civil procedure rules, the case would not be heard before the appellate court until after the election anyway, and any decision, either for or against Microsoft, is going to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    In the final analysis - I just do not see that this story is indicative of a Secret Microsoft Plot to Rule the World.

    Now Microsoft Bob on the other hand - that was just plain evil.
  • by rjh ( 40933 ) <> on Monday October 02, 2000 @05:16PM (#737198)
    Keep in mind that preparations increase to the square of the level of the court. Microsoft blew it big-time at the trial level; they have a massive undertaking ahead of them. The Findings of Fact are especially devastating, especially because barring the most extreme circumstances, Findings of Fact cannot be overturned.

    (There's a colorful bit of caselaw about overturning FoFs: according to caselaw, the sheer magnitude of the error must offend the senses like a three-day-old fish in order for it to be overturned.)

    Unfortunately for Microsoft, Judge Jackson gave the government almost everything they could have asked for in his Findings of Fact. He also detailed, at length, the legal reasoning behind each of his findings. Even if the Appellate Court disagrees with Jackson's Findings of Fact (which is very likely), the Appellate Court will not be able to overturn them unless Jackson's FoF fails the three-day-old fish test.

    Microsoft's number one job right now is to figure out how to make the FoF fail the fish test. This is going to be an uphill battle for them, and probably doomed to failure.

    Then the Findings of Law (FoL) has to be scrutinized. This is where the Appellate Court has the most opportunity to hand it back to Jackson. The Findings of Law are where Jackson says "this is what the law reads, and this is what it means"; the Appellate Court can say "well, Thomas, we like you a lot and all, but you need to talk to your dealer about the purity of your rock." That's going to be Microsoft's second target. Unfortunately, Jackson's FoL was very well researched; this, too, is going to be an uphill battle.

    If I were Microsoft, I'd be begging for a full year for the appeal process.

    Next, compare this to other large appeals, like the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996. That one bounced around the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals for the better part of a year. (The TRA involved just about every long-distance carrier in the country, and a lot of the local carriers. While it didn't have the cachet of the Microsoft case, it had a comparable amount of legal wrangling going on in it.) While the TRA appeal lasted a lot longer than people would have liked, it does show that five months for an appeal of a case of this size isn't entirely unreasonable.

    The wheels of law move excruciatingly slow; but, on the plus side, they grind things up excruciatingly well.

    Finally, keep in mind that this is what Microsoft is requesting. It's not what the government is going to request, nor is it going to be what the appellate court finally grants. The appellate court may well decide to grant more than five months' time; remember, the judges have dozens of other cases to hear as well, and their schedule may be so overfull as to require US v Microsoft to be pushed back.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas