US Report: Two early rulings made in DoJ's favour

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, in a hearing in U.S.

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, in a hearing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Thursday ruled against Microsoft on two major motions the company had hoped would shape its ongoing litigation with the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ).

Jackson ordered Microsoft to have Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Gates available for deposition for as much time as needed. Attorneys for Microsoft and the DoJ agreed that the two-day period which the DoJ had sought would be sufficient. Microsoft earlier had asked Jackson to limit Gates' deposition to eight hours.

Jackson also told Microsoft that it must make key portions of its operating system source code available to DoJ and state officials for analysis by technical experts. Microsoft lost its request that any technical experts be prohibited from consulting or working on other operating system technologies for up to 18 months following the trial, which is set to begin Sept. 8.

Microsoft officials responded by telling Jackson that they will file a motion Monday for summary judgement or dismissal of the case. A clearly sceptical Jackson reminded Microsoft attorneys that summary judgements may be granted only when both sides agree to undisputed facts which are sufficient to decide a case. Microsoft Attorney John Warden urged the judge to consider the motion for a summary judgement in light of an earlier Appeals Court ruling which found that Microsoft had fully integrated its Internet browser with the Windows operating system. Integration of the two is a key issue in the case.

"I think the difference between this proceeding and the earlier proceeding is I'll be finding facts here," Jackson said. Jackson agreed to not continue with the trial until he had ruled on the summary judgements.

Microsoft Senior Vice President for Law and Corporate Affairs William H. Neukom expressed confidence that his side's motion for a summary judgement would prevail. "We believe that the facts, and the law, are on our side," he said. "We believe we can avoid the time and expense of a trial by filing this motion Monday."