The Appeals Process
On June 13, 2000, Microsoft filed their
notice of appeal of Jackson's ruling in the antitrust case. They also filed a
motion to stay the ruling, pending the resolution of the appeals process. Had
the stay not been granted, the controls and prohibitions set forth in the ruling
would have begun on September 5, 2000. The restrictions that would have begun on
this date would have forced Microsoft to release their source code and trade
secrets to competitors, interfered with current product development and
releases, forced Microsoft to redesign their entire line of operating systems
within six months, and put price controls on Microsoft products.
On June 19 the appeals court rejected a government argument that they had no jurisdiction in the case, and the case should be fast tracked to the Supreme Court. They also set a fast paced schedule for hearings on Microsoft's motion for a stay. The next day, Judge Jackson granted Microsoft a stay of his ruling pending the resolution of the appeals process, meaning the restrictions would not begin in September unless the appeals were exhausted by then. This made the Appeals Court's schedule moot. Jackson also certified the case for expedition to the Supreme Court, which now has the power to accept the case, or reject it and send it back to the Appeals court to hear it first.