One month after an appeals court upheld that Microsoft Corporation is a monopoly and engaged in anti-competitive practices (see "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" in TidBITS 586), Microsoft has appealed the antitrust case to the U.S. Supreme Court. In its appeal, Microsoft argues that the appeals court ruling should be overturned because U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson was biased against the company and should have been disqualified from the case. The appeals court strongly rebuked Judge Jackson for his comments to the media during the penalty phase of the Microsoft trial, but did not find any instance of actual bias in Jackson’s decisions. At the same time, Microsoft has asked the appeals court that currently has the antitrust case to postpone any action under the Supreme Court until decides whether or not to hear Microsoft’s appeal.
The U.S. Supreme Court is under no obligation to hear Microsoft’s appeal and is unlikely to take up the now four-year-old case or overturn the earlier appeals court decision. Thus, Microsoft’s action is widely seen as a delaying tactic to extend litigation of the antitrust trial well past the expected ship date of Windows XP, which, like Microsoft’s bundling of Windows and Internet Explorer, integrates even more previously separate functionality into the Windows operating system.