Just a day after Microsoft released its proposed schedule for the appeals process in its antitrust case, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released its own version, which calls for a far speedier filing process. In sharp contrast to the Microsoft plan, which would have both sides filing papers as late as next March, the DOJ wants all paperwork to be turned in to the court by December 22. And Microsoft would be forced to file its first brief by November 1. "It is essential for effective antitrust law enforcement in a critical sector of the nation's economy that the appeal be concluded expeditiously," the DOJ brief reads. "Microsoft's proposal for an extended briefing schedule with exceptionally massive pleadings do not."
The government labeled Microsoft's proposed schedule as "excessive," accusing the company of wanting to unnecessarily delay resolution of the case. The DOJ feels that each side should be given the "standard" two weeks time to file briefs. Thus, the DOJ could file its reply to Microsoft on December 8 and Microsoft would have to file its own reply to the DOJ by December 22. Legal analysts say that the government plan, while somewhat expedited, is far closer to a normal schedule than Microsoft's proposed schedule.
"There is no justification for \[Microsoft's\] extraordinary request," the filing reads. "This is an appeal, not a retrial." Microsoft, of course, disagrees. "Microsoft's appeal will raise a broad number of legal, factual, and procedural issues," a Microsoft spokesperson said Tuesday."We have suggested a schedule and briefing length that will allow for a prompt and efficient process to consider the appeal." The company has until October 10 to officially respond to the government proposal