Just when you thought it couldn't get any uglier, the Microsoft antitrust trial took yet another step back as Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson was forced to interrupt a complaining Microsoft executive several times on the final day of questioning defense witnesses. The Judge finally shouted down Microsoft VP Bob Muglia when Muglia refused to stop arguing over a meaning of a Bill Gates email.

"No! Stop!" the Judge yellow, stunning Muglia. "There is no question pending. When the time comes for your counsel, you can redirect."

It was an ugly, yet fitting, end to Microsoft's defense phase, marred by a bewildering series of defeats as each witness, in turn, was torn apart by government attorney David Boies. And with that, the court recesses until April or May so that Jackson and Boies can attend to other cases. When that's finished up, the rebuttal phase begins. And Microsoft hasn't ruled out Gates as a rebuttal witness