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Microsoft case goes to appeals court

Bloatware behemoth's showdown begins

Lawyers for Microsoft and the US Department of Justice will square-off in a Washington courtroom again today.

For the next two days, arguments will be put before the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in the nearly three-year-old landmark antitrust case.

For antitrust read anticompetition. In the UK this case would be called something different but would be about the same thing - whether Microsoft used its position as a de facto monopoly to produce an inferior product and push competitors out of the field.

Microsoft, facing the threat of a court-ordered breakup, appealed last year almost immediately after it concluded with the divestiture (breaking up) remedy proposed in June by US District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson.

It will attempt to persuade the judges to agree that its decision to begin offering its Internet Explorer browser together with its Windows operating system in 1998 was neither anticompetitive nor harmful to consumers, as the district court ruled.

As indicated in one of the briefs filed in support of the US government, the DoJ lawyers are expected to argue that Microsoft "simply did not care about the requirements of federal antitrust law" and believed it could outspend and outlast the government in court.


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