No, it WASN'T a good day for MS

Wednesday's remedy hearing wasn't pretty for the software giant, as Judge Jackson cut short the company's request for more time to plead its antitrust case
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Try as they might, there's no way the Microsoft public relations team could put their favourite 'It was a good day for Microsoft spin' on Wednesday's remedy hearing.

The hearing ended abruptly around 3 p.m. ET, with Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson telling Microsoft that there would be "no further process" -- meaning no more chance for additional depositions or hearings -- because he had given Microsoft enough time to make its case.

"This case has been pending for two years, Mr. Holley," Jackson retorted shortly in response to a last-ditch appeal by Microsoft's counsel for additional time and a chance to present its "offer of proof."

The judge asked the government to provide him with a "clean copy" of the plaintiffs' proposed final judgment, meaning one that the Department of Justice and 19 states suing Microsoft for antitrust violations could amend with some of the minor changes and clarifications made by the judge during Wednesday's day-long remedy hearing in US District Court.

The judge allowed Microsoft its requested 48 hours to deliver a final response to the decree that the court will enter.

While some trial watchers are saying the judge is likely to rule any time in the next month or two, technically, Jackson will have everything he needs to enter his decree, complete with his proposed remedy, starting any time next week.

Because the judge spent much of his time on Wednesday asking for specifics regarding the government's and Microsoft's responses to the government's proposed breakup suggestion, many now are expecting the judge to suggest breaking up the company, in addition to various conduct remedies, when he issues his ruling.

It's not clear if the judge will back the government's proposed two-way split of Microsoft into a Windows and an applications company, or if he will favor the last-minute suggestion to cut Microsoft three ways -- operating systems, applications, and browser companies -- as suggested by a last-minute friend of the court brief by the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA).

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