Washington A federal appeals court denied a bid by Microsoft to delay its four-year antitrust case Friday, but analysts said the ruling probably would not deter the software giant from continuing to slug it out in court.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected Microsoft's request to halt the case until the Supreme Court decides whether to hear its appeal. The ruling clears the way for a new judge to decide what penalty Microsoft should face for antitrust violations.
The penalty proceedings could turn the legal spotlight onto Microsoft's upcoming operating system, Windows XP, due for release in October, said Andy Gavil, a Howard University law professor.
"This is the first option the government's going to have to take a position on Windows XP publicly," Gavil said of the proceedings, which will start once a new judge is chosen. "The immediate battleground will be, can they achieve some changes to Windows XP?"
District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who last year found Microsoft guilty of antitrust violations and ordered the company split in two, initially had demanded "conduct remedies" that would have affected Windows XP. But Jackson rescinded those orders before he was removed from the case by the appeals court earlier this year. The appeals court upheld his finding of antitrust violations but overturned his breakup order.
Windows XP will add features to the operating system such as a streaming media player, Internet security firewall and DVD player that currently are stand-alone products made by competitors.