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In an effort to get a speedy ruling on Microsoft Corp.’s appeal — which would take nearly two years if the software giant gets its way — the U.S. government filed its proposed scheduling order Tuesday, two days early. The government proposes that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia set a schedule that will allow briefings to be completed this calendar year and for the case to be set for argument in January 2001. On Monday, Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft asked for up to five months to file briefs in its antitrust case. According to the government’s filing with the court, Microsoft should be ordered to file its opening brief, limited to 24,000 words, by Nov. 1. The objects of the appeal would then file a single brief, limited to 24,000 words, on the federal issues and a single brief on the issues of particular concern to the state appellees, limited to 7,000 words, by Dec. 8. Microsoft would then file its reply brief, limited to 7,000 words, by Dec. 22. “We believe that our proposal reflects a fair balance between the parties’ need for a reasonable opportunity to present their arguments and the compelling public interest in prompt disposition of this important case,” the government said in its filing. The government also said Microsoft’s request for 90 minutes of argument per side is premature and, instead, suggested the parties submit their oral argument time requests promptly after the filing of Microsoft’s reply brief. The government, continuing its efforts to speed the process, challenged Microsoft to expedite its reply to its proposed scheduling order, which is due Tuesday. 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 rejected the request last week, sending it instead to the appeals court in Washington. Copyright (c)2000 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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