MS Opposes Antitrust Case Heading to Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (08/22/2000) - Microsoft Corp. today argued against sending its landmark antitrust case directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying a thorough review was more important than a quick one.

"No one is more anxious than Microsoft to see this case brought to a prompt conclusion," the company said today in a legal brief filed to the U.S. Supreme Court. "But the benefits of comprehensive review by the Court of Appeals far outweigh whatever time, if any, might be saved by direct review in [the Supreme] Court." Microsoft is fighting the government's efforts to bypass the U.S. Court of Appeals. In a brief filed last week, the U.S. Department of Justice and 19 states cited the "immense importance" of Microsoft and the antitrust case to the national economy in urging expedited review by the Supreme Court.

But Microsoft, in a brief posted on the company's Web site, said, "The need for soundness in the result outweighs the need for speed in reaching it." This was the final scheduled brief on the issue of expediting the case. It is up to the Supreme Court to decide whether it should take this case now or send it to the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court may decide who hears the case next in as little as two months, legal experts have said.

The case is expected to wind up in the Supreme Court no matter what. But a review by the lower court improves the odds of a reversal for Microsoft by simple virtue that two courts will examine the case, not one.

If the Supreme Court accepts the case, a final decision within a year is possible. If the case goes to the Court of Appeals, it may be two years or more before a conclusion is reached. The Court of Appeals has already said that if it gets the case first, it will move quickly on it.

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