Microsoft has won an early hearing on its appeal against the injunction banning the bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows 95.
The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted Microsoft?s request for an expedited hearing to appeal the temporary injunction that prevents it from requiring computer vendors to bundle the browser with its operating system.
The injunction stipulated that Microsoft cannot force PC makers to offer its Internet Explorer browser with Windows 95. Microsoft claims the injunction was improper because Judge Thomas Jackson did not agree with accusations by the US Justice Department that the company had breached a 1995 consent decree on anti-competitive business practices.
The appeals court decision means that Microsoft must submit written briefs by 29 January. The Justice Department then has until 2 March to file its response. Microsoft can then respond to this by 9 March, following which the court wil set a hearing.
Appeals in this type of anti-trust case can often take more than a year to go through the complicated US legal system. A Microsoft spokesman said : "This is a positive step, but it's one step in the procedural process.?
A DOJ spokesman dismissed the early decision as irrelevent. "It is important to note that this has nothing to do with the merits of Microsoft's case,? he said.
Microsoft?s next day in court comes on 13 January when it has to defend itself against accusations by the Justice Department that it did not adhere to the terms of the injunction anyway. Judge Jackson wants to know why the company claims it is not possible to remove IE from Windows 95 without damaging the operating system.
Meanwhile the supplier now has a court date for its other legal battle, with Sun Microsystems over alleged breach of licence terms for Java. U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte has scheduled a hearing on 27 February to consider Sun's demand for an injunction banning Microsoft from using the Java Compatible logo until the case is decided. Microsoft had asked for the hearing to be delayed until the end of June.
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