Microsoft split order vacated

— 12:32 PM on June 28, 2001

In what looks like a huge victory for Microsoft, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's ruling that the company should be split up has been vacated.

In Thursday's decision, a federal appeals court unanimously vacated that order and sent the decision back to the lower court. In addition, the court determined that the case should be heard by a new judge rather than by Jackson.

"We are...constrained to vacate the final judgment on remedies, remand the case for reconsideration of the remedial order, and require that the case be assigned to a different trial judge on remand," the appeals court wrote.

In its ruling, the court also said Jackson "engaged in impermissable ex parte contacts by holding secret interviews with members of the media and made numerous offensive comments about Microsoft officials in public statements outside the courtroom, giving rise to an appearance of partiality."

Though I'm not a huge fan of some of Microsoft's practices, the case was clearly mishandled by Jackson. Sending it back was probably the best thing to do. Now, however, we'll have to sit through it all again as the trial will burn through more tax dollars, and become increasingly irrelevant as new products are released and the industry changes.
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