Justices May Get Microsoft

U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson late Tuesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the federal government’s antitrust case against Microsoft Corp.

Jackson took advantage of a little-used federal law that allowed him to petition the nation’s highest court to hear the case, bypassing a federal appeals court.

Jackson also granted a request by Microsoft to stay a series of conduct remedies that were part of his original ruling until a higher court acts on the case. Those remedies, which established a number of restrictions on the company’s business practices, were set to take effect Sept. 5.

The Supreme Court is under no obligation to hear the case, which will bypass a federal appeals court only if a majority of the nine justices vote to take it.

Earlier this month, Jackson also decided that Microsoft should be split into two separate companies as a way to remedy antitrust allegations brought by the Justice Department and 17 states. That came after he found the company had illegally attempted to stifle competition in the computer operating system and Internet browser markets.

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