MS Hires Law Firm with Supreme Court Expertise

SAN FRANCISCO (07/03/2000) - Microsoft Corp. strengthened its legal team Monday by hiring a law firm that has expertise in Supreme Court matters.

Attorney Carter Phillips and his Washington, D.C.-based law firm Sidley & Austin will help Microsoft argue that its antitrust case appeal should heard by a Federal Appeals Court and not sent directly to the Supreme Court for review.

The new legal team will work alongside Microsoft's lead trial counsel, Sullivan & Cromwell, a Microsoft spokesman said.

The U.S. District Court judge overseeing Microsoft's case, acting on a request from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), recommended last month that Microsoft's appeal be heard directly by the Supreme Court. It's up to the Supreme Court to decide whether it will actually accept the case.

The DOJ said the Supreme Court should hear the case directly because it is in the public interest to resolve Microsoft's appeal quickly. Microsoft has argued that the appeal should be heard first by a U.S. District Court of Appeals. The Appeals Court in question has issued at least one ruling in Microsoft's favor earlier in the case.

Microsoft is fighting an order issued June 7 recommending that the company be split into two parts as a way of "remedying" its repeated violations of antitrust law. One company would sell Microsoft's Windows operating system, the other would be responsible for its other businesses, including software applications and Microsoft's online concerns. [See "UPDATE2: Judge Orders Microsoft Breakup," June 7.]The District Court has issued an order postponing those remedies pending the conclusion of Microsoft's appeal.

Sidley & Austin can be contacted in Washington, D.C., at +1-202-736-8000, and on the Web at http://www.sidley.com/. Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, can be reached at +1-425-882-8080 or http://www.microsoft.com/

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