Appeals Court Grants Microsoft Request to Halt Special Master Process
WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 1998 — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia today granted a request by Microsoft Corp. to halt all proceedings before the special master appointed by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson in the Department of Justice lawsuit against the company.
“We are gratified that the Court of Appeals acted quickly,” said William H. Neukom, Microsoft senior vice president for law and corporate affairs. “We believe this case is critical to consumers and to the future health of the U.S. software industry, so we are looking forward to presenting our evidence and arguments to the appeals court and the trial court in the months ahead. We believe the evidence will show that Microsoft’s ongoing development of the Internet Explorer technologies within Windows® 95 benefits customers and does not violate any legal rules.”
The unanimous Appeals Court ruling came just one day after briefing was concluded on Microsoft’s appeal of Judge Jackson’s Dec. 11 decision to appoint a special master. Microsoft requested the stay of all further proceedings before the special master on the grounds that the court had inappropriately delegated its judicial authority, that the court had violated a number of legal rules in the manner in which it appointed the special master, and that the appointed special master exhibited bias or the appearance of bias against Microsoft.
In its ruling late Monday, the Appeals Court agreed to hear Microsoft’s request for a permanent revocation of the appointment of the special master on April 21, when it also will hear Microsoft’s appeal of the District Court’s Dec. 11, 1997, preliminary injunction. That injunction requires Microsoft to offer computer makers the option of licensing the Windows 95 operating system without “any Microsoft Internet browser software.”
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