Microsoft Corp. stepped up its attack on U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson who ordered the breakup of the company, saying he violated his Code of Conduct and raised “profound doubts about his impartiality” in last years trial.
Microsoft said in court papers filed Monday that Jackson’s public “attacks” through the media prove an appeals court should set aside the judge’s findings that split the company into two.
Microsoft cited comments attributed to Jackson in a new book by reporter Ken Auletta, who covered the antitrust trial for the New Yorker magazine, entitled “World War 3.0: Microsoft and Its Enemies.” Among other comments, Jackson said that Microsoft’s “intransigence” thwarted negotiations to reach an out-of-court settlement of the case. He also said that Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates was not “adept at business ethics.”
“By airing freely with journalists his personal views about Microsoft and its executives as well as the merits of the case while the case was still pending, the district judge not only violated the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, but also raised profound doubts about his impartiality and the fairness of the trial he conducted,” the brief said.
The evidence presented at the trial “is certainly not sufficient to justify breaking up Microsoft and imposing other extreme relief,” the company said, and it asked the appeals court to set aside Jackson’s order that it be split into two companies.
A federal appeals court in Washington will hear arguments Feb. 26 and 27 on Microsoft’s challenge to Jackson’s ruling.