Microsoft ruling not expected to have any immediate effect on government

Microsoft ruling not expected to have any immediate effect on government

U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's ruling this month that Microsoft Corp. violated antitrust laws and abused its monopoly power is unlikely to have any immediate impact on PC prices or software features.

General Services Administration spokesman Bill Bearden said, 'We don't expect any effect, but it's too early to predict.'

Microsoft immediately announced plans to ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to overturn Jackson's ruling in the consolidated United States vs. Microsoft case, brought before the U.S. District Court in Washington in 1998 by the Justice Department, 19 states and Washington.

Even if the appeals court agrees with Microsoft, as it has done in the past, the slow winding of subsequent litigation through state courts could take many more years.

An expedited hearing before the Supreme Court had been a possibility until Jackson said he would issue a final decree within 60 days on Justice's suggested legal remedies. They could range from splitting up the company to regulating its business practices. The next open hearing is set for May 24.

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