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The U.S. Supreme Court may decide as soon as August whether to take the Microsoft antitrust case or kick it back down to an appeals court. Solicitor General Seth Waxman told the Supreme Court Thursday that Microsoft intends to file an initial brief on July 26, followed by a government response on Aug. 15 and a Microsoft reply on Aug. 22. The schedule is more rapid than called for under the high court’s rules. Ordinarily, Microsoft would have 60 days from the date of its appeal (June 13) to file a brief, after which the Justice Department, 19 states and the District of Columbia would have 30 days to respond. On June 20, U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson invoked a rarely used federal antitrust law to certify the case for direct review by the high court, bypassing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Jackson also stayed his entire final judgment in the case, which would have required Microsoft to adopt several restrictions on its business practices by Sept. 5. Jackson’s stay simultaneously gives Microsoft some breathing room to compete in new Internet markets and streamlines the case for the Supreme Court’s consideration. Now the justices must decide whether to take the case or send it down to the Court of Appeals. On June 7, Jackson ordered Microsoft to break itself into two companies to remedy multiple violations of federal and state antitrust law. Jackson immediately stayed the breakup pending the outcome of Microsoft’s appeals, but he waited nearly two weeks to stay the rest of his order. Microsoft, confident of its chances in the Court of Appeals, opposes direct review by the Supreme Court. The government says the case is so important that the high court should review it right away. Related Articles from The Industry Standard: The Microsoft Judgment: Breaking the Gates Can Microsoft Run Out the Clock? Microsoft Catches a Break Copyright � 2000 The Industry Standard

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