Court Reverses MS Breakup Order

Appeals Court Overturns Microsoft Breakup Order is the story detailing a decision by a U.S. Appeals court to overturn last year's ruling by lower court judge Thomas Penfield Jackson that Microsoft had tried to monopolize the market for Internet browsers and should be broken into two separate companies (story), though the "seven-judge appeals panel agreed that Microsoft holds a monopoly in personal computer operating systems and some of its competitive practices amounted to illegal use of that monopoly." Here is a bit from the story on the ruling, and some of the reaction to it:
The appeals panel also rebuked Jackson for giving the "appearance of partiality" through his media interviews during the trial.

"Although we find no evidence of actual bias, we hold that the actions of the trial judge seriously tainted the proceedings before the District Court and called into question the integrity of the judicial process," the court said in its ruling.

"We are therefore constrained to vacate the (breakup order) on remedies, remand the case for reconsideration of the remedial order, and require that the case be assigned to a different trial judge on remand."

The U.S. Justice Department welcomed the appeals court finding that Microsoft engaged in illegal conduct to maintain its monopoly over personal computer operating systems. Attorney General John Ashcroft is scheduled to hold a news conference at 3 P.M. EDT (1900 GMT).

"We are reviewing the court's opinion and considering our options,'' the department said.

Microsoft spokesman Mark Murray said the company was reviewing the ruling and would comment later.

The White House said it was too early to conclude that President Bush's administration would pursue the Microsoft case less vigorously than the Clinton administration.

Asked if it was safe to say the Justice Department would not pursue the case with the same zeal that it did under former President Bill Clinton, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer replied: "No. I think it's too soon to make any conclusions."