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Judge Off Microsoft Bias Case

March 14, 2001|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — The federal judge who ordered the breakup of Microsoft Corp. has recused himself from a separate discrimination lawsuit against the software giant.

District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, in an order signed Monday, took another swipe at the company, saying that the antitrust proceedings against Microsoft left him with an impression of "a company with an institutional disdain for both the truth and the rules of law that lesser entities must respect."

But Jackson blamed recent criticism of his out-of-court comments by an appeals court reviewing the antitrust case for creating an appearance of personal bias or prejudice and leading to his recusal decision.

Microsoft, which had asked Jackson to step aside in the suit filed by current and former black employees, said his recusal decision was correct but disagreed with his characterization of the company.

"We respectfully disagree with the court's comments but these issues are before the court of appeals so it would be inappropriate for us to comment beyond that," Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan said Tuesday.

After a 78-day trial that began Oct. 19, 1998, Jackson found Microsoft holds monopoly power in the market for personal computer operating systems and illegally used that power to maintain it monopoly and try to extend its power into the Web browser market.

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