The U.S Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by Microsoft to have the case thrown out for judicial bias, according to
Microsoft had hoped it could avoid facing a definitive remedy judgment as the case enters its final phase in the U.S. District Court of Appeals. Interactive Week reported that the Supreme Court made no comment in rejecting the appeal, which hinged on unprofessional conduct by Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who was the original trial judge.
On June 7, 2000, U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson found Microsoft used its monopoly power in personal computer operating systems to compete illegally. He said the software giant should be split in two to prevent future violations but stayed the order pending appeals.
The U.S. Justice Department and states wanted the Supreme Court to first hear the case, but Microsoft won a ruling that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia would hear it first.
Jackson held private interviews with reporters and made critical comments about Microsoft before he handed down his monopoly ruling last year. Microsoft claimed the interviews proved Jackson was biased. In July 2000, the company asked the Supreme Court not to hear the landmark case of antitrust violations and instead return the issue to a federal appeals court. The judge was replaced in August 2001 by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.
The Supreme Court rejection closes one of the few legal avenues that remain for Microsoft, which is currently in round-the-clock settlement talks with the Department of Justice, notes Interactive Week. If no settlement is reached by Friday, Judge Kollar-Kotelly has ordered that a mediator be imposed. If Nov. 2 comes and goes without a settlement, the case will move ahead with remedy hearings scheduled for next March.