No MS Decision This Week, Judge Adds Filings Round

SAN MATEO (06/01/2000) - With a breakup of Microsoft Corp. hanging in the balance, the federal judge who holds the software giant's fate in his hands will not issue a final punishment this week, instead giving the company and the U.S. Department of Justice another chance to plead their cases.

After a conference call Thursday morning with both sides, U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson set a deadline of Monday for the Justice Department to respond to Microsoft's latest court brief, which was filed on Wednesday.

Microsoft would have until June 7, next Wednesday, to respond to that ruling, according to Jackson's ruling.

It was unclear immediately what prompted Jackson to set additional deadlines.

Observers had expected his ruling on what punishments the Redmond, Wash. company would face for violating U.S. antitrust laws. It is widely expected that Jackson will go along with the Justice Department's plan to split Microsoft into two companies, although last week he expressed interest in a plan to break the company into three entities.

Microsoft Corp., in Redmond, Washington, is at www.microsoft.com. The Department of Justice, in Washington, is at www.usdoj.gov. Jackson's ruling can be viewed in PDF format at www.dcd.uscourts.gov/98-1232t.pdf.

Bob Trott is an InfoWorld associate news editor based in Seattle.

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