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Microsoft Appeals Antitrust Ruling to Supreme Court

The move comes after an appeals court last Thursday reaffirmed a federal court ruling that Microsoft illegally bundled its Internet Explorer Web browser with its Windows operating system.

Microsoft’s case was due to be sent to a new judge on Thursday to decide the penalty.

Company spokesman Vivek Varma told the Associated Press that Microsoft has asked the appeals court to hold off any action until the Supreme Court decides whether it will take the case.

A federal appeals court in June threw out an earlier penalty against Microsoft, saying U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson was biased against the company. Jackson had ordered Microsoft be broken in two.

The court did, however, uphold the ruling that Microsoft had illegally linked its Windows and Internet Explorer software to shut out competition by keeping consumers from using one without the other.

In its appeal, Microsoft says Jackson’s entire ruling should be discounted because the June court ruling said he violated the judicial code of ethics.

“On that basis, Microsoft argues that the district judge should have been disqualified from any further role in the case as of the time the earliest violation occurred,” the company told the court.

“The Supreme Court’s review of the disqualification issue is important to restoring public confidence in the integrity of the judicial system,” it said.

The Justice Department asked the high court to hear the Microsoft suit last year in an attempt to fast-track the case and bypass an appeals court trial. The high court denied that request last September.