Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ruled that Bill Gates' depositions before the court--and any other depositions in the Microsoft vs. DOJ case--will be open to the public and media. The surprise ruling came after an early morning emergency meeting on Tuesday where a number of news organizations argued before the court that they should be allowed to attend. The ruling could well delay the start of the trial, which is now scheduled for September 8.

There are some key issues that need to be ironed out, however, before these depositions can begin. The questioning of Gates, for example, was originally scheduled for Wednesday; now, it will be delayed until these issues are resolved. The biggest issue, of course, centers around any confidential business information that may be discussed.

"We're reviewing the order to determine how to proceed," said Microsoft spokesman Adam Sohn. "The judge seeks protections for confidential information for all of the parties, but we frankly are quite concerned about the impact on our trial preparation.