DOJ to reply on Tuesday to Microsoft brief

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) and state officials will file a brief with the US Supreme Court on Tuesday rebutting statements by Microsoft and arguing that the antitrust suit against the company should not be heard by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

The scheduled court filing is in response to the brief that Microsoft delivered to the nation's highest court on July 26 that argued an appeal was warranted because the lawsuit filed against it by the DOJ and 19 US states was full of factual and legal errors.

The DOJ and the 19 US states prosecuting the case are seeking to have the case against Microsoft put on the fast track for appeals and have it go directly before the nation's highest court when it convenes in October rather than being heard by the intermediary appeals court. The case holds national economic importance and deserves the review of the Supreme Court, government prosecutors have said.

DOJ spokeswoman Gina Talamona said Monday that the agency has no comment on the filing. The court required that the filings for both Microsoft and the government be no longer than 30 pages.

Microsoft will reply to the DOJ's brief on Aug. 22, Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan said.

"We believe the Supreme Court would benefit from an initial review by the Court of Appeals because of the complex nature of our appeal and we look forward to responding on Aug. 22," Cullinan said Monday.

The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision on the jurisdictional question by as early as September.

US District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ordered in June that Microsoft be split into two companies: an applications company and one focused on operating systems. He also ruled that Microsoft is subject to a set of behavioral remedies. Those remedies have been put on hold until the appeals process is completed.

Talamona said the brief from the DOJ and the states brief will be posted on the Web Tuesday at http://www.usdoj.gov/atr.

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