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News
Microsoft case in brief
June 28, 2001: 12:24 p.m. ET

Highlights of the legal battle between Microsoft and the Justice Department
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - A chronology of key events in the legal battle between Microsoft Corp. and the Justice Department, a lawsuit that has spanned three-and-a-half years and running.

October 1997 The Justice Department sues Microsoft (MSFT: Research, Estimates), alleging the software maker required computer manufacturers to ship Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser on PCs loaded with Windows 95. Attorney General Janet Reno also asks a federal court to impose penalties of $1 million per day.

Jan. 22, 1998 Microsoft reaches a partial settlement with the Justice Department that allows personal computer makers to remove or hide its Internet software on new versions of Windows 95. Separately, Netscape announces plans to give its browser away for free.

May 18, 1998 Regulators from the Justice Department and 20 states launch one of the biggest antitrust assaults of the century, accusing Microsoft of using its dominance in computer software to drive competitors out of business. The filing comes after negotiations between the government and Microsoft officials break down.

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graphicCNNfn's Steve Young takes a look at the history of the Microsoft case.
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Oct. 19, 1998 Trial of the federal antitrust suit against Microsoft begins. Lead Justice Department attorney David Boies uses internal company documents to contradict Bill Gates' statements in a videotaped deposition that he was not aware of a controversial 1995 meeting with Netscape executives.

March 29, 1999 Microsoft reorganizes its operations into four separate divisions. Company officials stress the restructuring is unrelated to its ongoing lawsuit with the government.

Nov. 5, 1999 U.S. District Court judge rules that Microsoft holds monopoly power in the market for PC operating systems, and the company's actions harmed consumers.

Nov. 19, 1999 District Court judge appoints federal appeals judge, Richard Posner to serve as a mediator to handle the negotiations between Microsoft and the government.

Jan. 13, 2000 Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates hands over the day-to-day management of the software company to Steve Ballmer as part of a corporate reshuffling that will allow Gates to focus on long-term strategies.

April 1, 2000 Judge Posner announces the end of negotiations between Microsoft and the government after four fruitless months of talks, setting the stage for a verdict by Judge Jackson.

April 3, 2000 Judge Jackson rules Microsoft violated the nation's antitrust laws by using its monopoly power in personal computer operating systems to stifle competition.

April 28, 2000 The Justice Department and a group of state attorneys general ask Judge Jackson to split Microsoft into two separate companies; one devoted to the Windows operating system and the second to Microsoft's other businesses, including popular software applications such as Microsoft Office.

June 7, 2000 Judge Jackson issues final ruling calling for Microsoft to be split into two companies, one for the Windows operating system and another for its Internet and other businesses.

Sept. 26, 2000 In a victory for Microsoft, the Supreme Court declines to consider the government's bid to break up the software maker, choosing instead to send the case to a lower court.

Feb. 21, 2001 Microsoft and software developer Bristol Technology announce an agreement settling litigation between the companies that began in 1998.

Feb. 26, 2001 Microsoft and the government square off during first day of two-day hearing on Microsoft's appeal of Judge Jackson's breakup order before seven judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Feb. 27, 2001 The two-day hearing concludes with Microsoft attorneys arguing that Judge Jackson's order was "motivated by a desire to punish" the company and suggested that his statements in the media following that order showed that it was biased and based on his own personal feelings about the company and its top executives.

June 28, 2001 U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed Judge Jackson's ruling that Microsoft be broken into two companies. The Appeals Court vacated in full the final judgment and remanded the case to a new judge. Its decision questioned the partiality of Judge Jackson. graphic





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