In its ongoing battle with the DoJ, Microsoft has won a minor victory by convincing an appeals court to have the "special master", appointed by Judge Penfield Jackson, suspended from the trial. However, on the other side of the world, Microsoft's CEO Bill Gates, was under fire - literally - when he was smacked in the face by a gang of pie-chucking sweet-toothed anarchists. The appeals court granted Microsoft's request to have the Harvard law professor, Lawrence Lessig, suspended because Microsoft had not been consulted before his appointment and because the investigation exceeded the scope of laws that enable judges to appoint special masters. Since the case began in December, Microsoft has accused Lessig of bias (see PC Week, 13 January) based on Email sent between the professor and officials from Netscape. Microsoft has also alleged that Lessig attended a legal forum at Harvard Law School last year titled Should Microsoft Be Allowed to Swallow the Net? In its ruling, the appeals court agreed to hear Microsoft's request for a permanent revocation of the role of special master on 21 April. Until the hearing, Microsoft is focusing on 11 separate subpoenas from state attorneys in different parts of America, who have each asked for virtually all the documents requested by the DoJ. The attorneys are conducting their own investigations into Microsoft's alleged anti-competitive practices, which could result in further lawsuits for the company. Back in Brussels, Gates was wiping cream from his face after the pelting. Gates, who was walking from his car toward the Concert Noble hall for a conference, was struck twice by the pies, believed to have been baked by a gang who like nothing better than pelting celebrities for publicity.
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