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Microsoft Corp. Monday asked for up to five months to file briefs in its antitrust case, a request that, if granted, would likely delay for nearly two years a final decision on whether the software giant is broken up. The Redmond, Wash.-based company asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia for 60 days to file its principal brief. The government would then get another 60 days to file its brief. Microsoft would then have 30 more days to respond. The appeals court would hold a hearing once the briefs are filed. Microsoft urged the court to give the parties 90 minutes each to argue their cases and it recommended that the judges ask for pre- or post-argument briefs that could focus exclusively on issues they were concerned about. Microsoft also asked that it and the government be allowed to file 56,000-word briefs. The court typically limits a brief to 14,000 words. The software company also asked for 28,000 words for its reply brief. Under such a scheduling order, the appeals court would be hard-pressed to issue a decision before the fall of 2001. This would mean that, at best, the Supreme Court would hear the case in late winter and issue a ruling in May or June of 2002. U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson in June ordered Microsoft broken into an applications company and an operating system company after he concluded that it used its monopoly in operating systems to stifle competition for Internet browsers. The government had sought to have the Supreme Court decide Microsoft’s appeal rather than the appeals court. But the justices last week rejected the request, sending it instead to the appeals court in Washington. The government files its proposed scheduling order Thursday. Copyright (c)2000 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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