A US federal appeals court has refused Microsoft's bid to delay its four-year antitrust case, claiming that the software giant did not show good reason for any further postponement.
"Microsoft has failed to demonstrate any substantial harm that would result from the reactivation of proceedings in the district court," the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled.
In its one-page adjudication, the court accused Microsoft of having "misconstrued our opinion, particularly with respect to what would have been required to justify vacating the district court's findings of fact and conclusions of law".
Microsoft asked the Court of Appeals to postpone its case from heading to a trial court, where a judge is expected to decide a new set of remedies to impose on the company.
According to the order, the US Government can resume proceedings before a federal district judge while the Supreme Court decides whether to take Microsoft's request for appeal. The order also states that the mandate returning the case to the trial court will be issued seven days from Friday.
A Microsoft spokesman confirmed that the company was disappointed with the ruling, and was still hoping that the case could be settled out of court. "We're prepared to move ahead with getting the remaining issues in the case resolved while we await word on the Supreme Court review," he said.
On the other hand, the Justice Department applauded the Appeals Court ruling. "We are pleased with the Court's decision and we look forward to proceedings in the District Court," said Justice Department spokeswoman Gina Talamona.
The penalty, which is likely to come after a hearing process, could require simple changes in Microsoft's conduct or a break-up of the software giant.
Although District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ordered that the company be split into two, the panel of appellate judges overturned that portion of his ruling in June.
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