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A federal appeals court said October 11 it would hear oral arguments in the Microsoft Corp. antitrust case at the end of February, which could clear the way for final resolution of the case by spring 2002. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected the government’s demand for speedy consideration of the antitrust case. Instead, it adopted a schedule that spreads the filing of briefs over the next four months and culminates with oral arguments Feb. 26 and Feb. 27. Assuming the filing of post-argument briefs, a decision from the appeals court could occur as early as late next spring. That would give the losing party enough time to appeal to the Supreme Court, which could hear the case in late fall and rule in March or April 2002. In its order, the appeals court said Microsoft must file its brief November 27. The brief may not exceed 150 pages. Friend-of-the-court briefs that support Microsoft must be filed by the same day and may not exceed 25 pages. Microsoft must file its brief about two weeks earlier than the software giant had requested and about four weeks later than the government wanted. The U.S. government, state attorneys general and friend-of-the-court briefs must be filed January 12, 2001, a month later than the government requested but close to the date Microsoft recommended. The Department of Justice has 125 pages for its brief. State governments, which also sued Microsoft, and friends of the court must limit their filings to 25 pages. Reply briefs would be due January 29, final briefs February 9, 2001. The court said it would issue an order explaining the rules for the two-day oral argument. Copyright (c)2000 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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