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The BBC's David Willis in Seattle
"There's been a lot of rumours"
 real 28k

Thursday, 1 June, 2000, 18:30 GMT 19:30 UK
Microsoft verdict delayed
US flag, microsoft graphic
The US judge in the anti-trust trial against software giant Microsoft has delayed giving his verdict by one week to give both sides more time to present their arguments.

The Microsoft Trial
Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson had been expected to announce his "remedies" for Microsoft's anti-competitive behaviour by Friday afternoon at the latest.

Two months ago, the judge found the world's largest software company guilty of violating US anti-trust law by abusing its near-monopoly in the market for operating software for computers.

The US Government charged, and the court accepted, that Microsoft forced its customers to adopt its own browser by discounts and pressure on computer makers, to the detriment of rival software maker Netscape.

The US Government, together with a number of US states, who brought the case, called for Microsoft to be split into two parts.

One of the new companies would sell the various Windows operating systems and the other would do everything else, such as produce software applications and the Internet Explorer browser.

Commenting on various filings, the judge appeared to lean towards an even more radical solution, which would have seen a split into three parts, separating out the Internet Explorer business into a third company.

Surprise move

On Wednesday Microsoft submitted yet another rebuttal of the government's proposal.

The software maker presented testimony from top executives of other companies, including computer makers Compaq and film-makers Dreamworks, in support of its view that a break-up would harm the US economy.

The company had asked the judge for six months to call more witnesses from elsewhere in the computer industry to testify on the negative effects it believes would follow.

In a surprise move, the judge has now asked the US Justice Department and state governments to respond to Microsoft's court filing by Monday morning.

Microsoft, in turn, will have until Wednesday morning to respond.

Microsoft has said it will appeal against any unfavourable decision - a move which could extend the landmark legal battle for months or years.

With the final ruling imminent, it has cancelled plans to launch new software which would provide internet access for any kind of computing device, including cell phones and hand-held personal organisers.

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See also:

01 Jun 00 | Business
Microsoft attacks break-up plan
01 May 00 | Microsoft
The Trial: Key Moments
22 Feb 00 | Microsoft
What's it all about?
02 Jun 00 | Business
Canada woos Microsoft
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