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Commentary: Reason for cheer in Redmond

In the soap opera of the Department of Justice's antitrust case against Microsoft, the latest episode clearly appears to favor the defendant.

    By David Smith, Gartner Analyst

    In the continued back and forth that is the soap opera of the Department of Justice's antitrust case against Microsoft, the latest episode clearly appears to favor the defendant.

    In this week's two days

    See news story:
    Microsoft could win, legal experts say
    of hearings before the Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., the justices beat up the government's case quite badly. Although Microsoft did not escape unscathed, it is clear that this judicial panel--as it had in earlier appeals of District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's rulings on the Microsoft case--tends to see things more Microsoft's way.

    The appeals judges challenged many of Jackson's "findings of fact" and perhaps tipped their hand that they may not feel obliged to honor them. Some of the judges also apparently shared Microsoft's opinion that Jackson is biased against the company. If true, that view leads to the possibility that they may not feel bound by Jackson's findings at all.

    Uncertainty over the ultimate outcome of the Microsoft antitrust case continues; the next steps will likely not occur until June. But if you're Bill Gates, you're probably sleeping a lot better after this week's events.

    These legal developments, along with Microsoft's continued push into the Internet and consumer space with its .Net strategy, have to be making Microsoft's founder and chairman feel a lot better about the future of his company today than last spring.

    (For related commentary on Microsoft's legal challenges, see TechRepublic.com--free registration required.)

    Entire contents, Copyright © 2001 Gartner Group, Inc. All rights reserved. The information contained herein represents Gartner's initial commentary and analysis and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Positions taken are subject to change as more information becomes available and further analysis is undertaken. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof.