Microsoft to leave Judge Jackson out of appeal –

Although Microsoft Corp. sharply criticized Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson in its brief filed on Jan. 29 with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the company said it wouldn't bring up the topic in court later this month.

Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) face a Friday deadline to file a schedule of topics for oral arguments on Feb. 26 and 27. If the two adversaries don't agree the court will decide on the topics.

Unless the subject of Jackson's behavior is raised by the appeals court, Microsoft will not talk about him, Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan told the Associated Press on Thursday. "We believe that the briefs speak for themselves," he said, noting that Microsoft had already addressed the matter of Jackson's behavior the last time it faced the appeals court. A spokeswoman for Microsoft in Europe confirmed what Cullinan had said.

Cullinan said Microsoft wants to focus on the central issues of the antitrust case: whether the company illegally bundled Web browser Internet Explorer with the Windows operating system and whether it used anti-competitive practices to maintain a monopoly and gain shares in other markets.

In its 75-page court filing on Jan. 29 Microsoft said that the district judge's repeated public comments "demonstrate an animus towards Microsoft so strong that it inevitably infected his rulings." The company also states that Jackson's "comments about the merits of the case and his ad hominem (personal) attacks on Microsoft are indefensible."

Microsoft cites several examples in the filing -- like where Jackson compared Microsoft to "gangland killers" -- and says Jackson's comments are in violation of the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges. Microsoft said the comments are clear grounds for disqualification under U.S. law, and provide an independent basis to vacate the judgment.

Jackson ordered a breakup of Microsoft on June 7 last year. He has since been somewhat of a public figure, giving interviews to the media and talking to authors of books about the case.

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